A new training programme tailored to help businesses welcome breastfeeding mothers has been introduced by a shopping centre.
The programme, from the NHS Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme, aims to make commercial and community premises as breastfeeding friendly as possible by providing staff with the skills to support nursing mothers.
Staff from Manor Walks Shopping and Leisure, in Cramlington, have become the first to take part in the training as it joins the established Northumberland Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme.
The centre came under fire on social media last September when a mother said she was asked to leave a cafe for breastfeeding her baby, a claim officials denied.
Debbie Wade, infant feeding co-ordinator at Northumbria NHS Healthcare Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted Manor Walks is participating in our scheme.
“During our visit we worked with staff from the centre to provide them with specific training to support breastfeeding women visiting the premises.”
Signage is now displayed throughout Manor Walks, making it easy for nursing mothers to identify breastfeeding-friendly venues.
Manor Walks’ general manager, Bruno Coppola, said: “We are extremely proud that Manor Walks has become the first organisation to take part in the new training.
“We recognise the benefits that breastfeeding can offer to both mother and baby.”
“We welcome and support all mothers who wish to breastfeed. I’d like to thank the staff from the Northumbria NHS Healthcare Foundation Trust for delivering the fantastic training session to our team.”
Katy Luke, integrated children’s centre manager at Blyth Valley Children’s Centres, added: “Blyth Valley Sure Start Children’s Centres have funded this training from the Care Trust to enable local businesses to reach the standard required to become members of Northumberland’s Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme.
“It is fantastic to see Manor Walks match this standard.
“Mothers have told us how important it is for local venues to be welcoming and supportive to breastfeeding, which really makes a difference to whether women continue to breastfeed their babies.”