Help and advice on breast feeding was on hand for Tamworth mums at Ankerside Shopping Centre this week.
The centre’s regular Yummy Mummy Club welcomed the town’s breast-feeding co-ordinator Ellie Fielding, along with a group of mothers she is helping, along to Thursday’s get-together.
Ellie provided information leaflets and advice on the advantages of breast-feeding, while mums from Tamworth were on hand to discuss their own experiences.
The club meets in the central atrium, part of Drucker’s Café, with toys and activities for children.
Ankerside Shopping Centre administrator Lucy Harvey said: “Our aim is to ensure the centre welcomes everybody, especially families.
“The Yummy Mummy club, which meets on the last Thursday of each month, is a great way for mums to meet in an informal setting and to have a chat over a coffee while the children get to play along with a wide range of activities. This time the children had a football themed session, with football support kit flags, hats and tooters.
“We are delighted that Ellie was able to come along and talk about breast-feeding, and to also bring along a group of mums she’s supporting – it’s always easier to talk about such things with somebody who is presently involved.”
Lucy added: “We already offer parent friendly rooms, and when the toilet facility refurbishment is completed, we will have rooms where mums can breast-feed in private, if they so wish.”
More and more Tamworth mums are opting to breastfeed although numbers are still below the national average for England, said Ellie, who is based at Glascote Children’s Centre.
“Our aim is to make sure that mums have all the information they need to make a decision about breast feeding. We know that those who get that information, and who receive the right support, continue to breast feed for longer.
“We get involved with mums while they are pregnant, to discuss their options, and then again about three days after the baby is born, to offer help and support.
“The support is given at groups by peer counsellors – other mums who have breastfed, who know what it’s like and who can talk through the problems. We also offer home visits, phone and online support.
“We have a public Facebook page that’s open to all mums in Tamworth – Tamworth Breast Feeding Mums. Plus there’s also a private closed group – Tamworth Breast feeding Mums Support – where mums can discuss matters that they wouldn’t want to be public.
“I’m passionate about the benefits of breast-feeding, which I firmly believe is the best for a baby and the most natural thing in the world, but we recognise that everybody’s situation is different. Our aim is to support mums to initiate breastfeeding and offer continuing support throughout their breastfeeding journey.
“We supported 125 families in Tamworth last year, and we regularly meet up at the Glascote, Leyfields and Dosthill Children’s Centres. We also have a weekly one-to-one drop-in at the Philip Dix centre– some great friendships have been formed, and mums have their own support network outwith the groups in their own communities.
“One of our members set up Tamworth Breastfeeding Mum’s Outing Group on Facebook, which is great for those mums who are venturing out with a new baby, especially if their partner has gone back to work, and they need some extra help. The first time a new mum chooses to feed in public can be stressful.”
“Ankerside Shopping Centre is to be commended for the new parent rooms that are being created, where mums can feed if they want to be private. However, obviously many parents prefer to feed their child as part of the family, rather than being separate – we have previously published a guide to the best places in Tamworth for breast feeding, and Drucker’s at Ankerside was one of those listed.”
Ankerside Shopping Centre, open daily, is home to 60 stores, from fashion, health and beauty to services and food and drink, and has more than 700 parking spaces. More details about the Yummy Mummy Club at www.ankerside.co.uk