your hospitals, your health, our priority
Telephone: 01942 244 000

Local Health Economy Back Breastfeeding

Newsdate: 12 October 2011

Breastfeeding families across the Wigan Borough are going to receive mother to mother intensive breastfeeding support thanks to NHS funding. The UK wide charity The Breastfeeding Network (BfN) has been awarded the contract by NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan which will result in the creation of at least 12 local jobs.
Health Economy staff with new mums and babies at Surestart, Ashton YMCA

The BfN trained breastfeeding volunteers are already familiar faces on the Maternity Ward at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary (RAEI), at Antenatal Clinics and at Breastfeeding Support Groups, but this funding now means the development of a fully comprehensive service across the Borough.

Families across the borough will now be able to look forward to antenatal breastfeeding information, breastfeeding support on the Maternity Ward at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary and home visiting support by the fully trained BfN Peer Support Service.  The help and information given by the service will hopefully help families avoid or overcome the problems that very often result in mothers giving up breastfeeding.

BfN Supporter and Supervisor, Ruth Clifford who lives in Wigan said “All mums and babies are different; our aim is to give families the information they need in order to choose the method of feeding that suits them and then help support them to continue breastfeeding for as long as they wish.  We also want to make sure the mother’s extended family and partner has the information to give her as much help and support that she requires, as this is really important in making breastfeeding work for her and her baby”.

Alison Healey, Breastfeeding Strategic and Commissioning Lead for NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan and Wigan Council said “The Breastfeeding Peer Support Service will really enhance the breastfeeding support already given by midwives and health visitors.  Mothers report that they all really appreciate the support given to them by other mothers who have breastfed themselves and understand both the difficulties but also the joy that breastfeeding can bring. The peer supporters have the training and the time to be able to spend with the mothers to help them avoid or overcome problems.”

Diane Swindlehurst, Head of Midwifery, Children’s and Patient Services at WWL said: “Fewer mothers in Wigan choose to breastfeed in comparison to most other parts of the United Kingdom, and of those who do start breastfeeding many will give up before the baby is six weeks old, yet babies who are breastfed are given extra protection against respiratory infections, tummy upsets and ear infections.  They are less likely to become overweight and obese and mothers who breastfed are given extra protection against breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.  Support from a Peer Supporter will hopefully enable those mothers who have decided to breastfeed to continue longer giving both her and her baby all these massive health benefits”.  

Those wanting to find out more can look at Wigan’s own breastfeeding website or check out