Wokingham Leisure Centre @ Carnival Hub, Wokingham Borough Council’s new flagship community building, has become a breastfeeding friendly venue.
Places Leisure, the council’s leisure provider, have signed up for the Breastfeeding Network’s (BfN) Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme.
It will demonstrate this commitment by displaying a certificate on site, training staff and offering a supportive environment.
The scheme gives families confidence about breastfeeding when visiting public places by providing a safe space. Concerns about breastfeeding in public, such as embarrassment and negative public attitudes, can prevent women from feeling assured.
Department of Health guidance states breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Giving them breast milk exclusively for the first six months is recommended where possible.
Promoting positive and safe spaces
Cllr David Hare, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, said: “Giving our residents a safe environment is so important when it comes to encouraging and enabling breastfeeding. While they may know of the benefits and have a desire to breastfeed their child, they can feel put off if there isn’t an accepting and friendly place for them to visit.
“With the opening of the new leisure centre, we have the chance to show our residents that we support women’s choice to breastfeed; while we are also helping to promote positive and safe spaces by working with the Breastfeeding Network.”
The new Carnival Hub brings together a large leisure centre, a new home for Wokingham Library and flexible cultural use of the space.
Tony Penge, the contract manager for Places Leisure, Wokingham, said: “We are very proud to be part of the Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme here at Wokingham Leisure Centre, as we do our utmost to make it a welcoming place for families.
“Breastfeeding can be a sensitive issue and it is important that mums and families feel happy about feeding their babies in a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.
“We make mums feel comfortable and confident breastfeeding and we hope mums, especially new mums, feel at ease as there are a number of them feeding in our coffee shop after their activity. We have lots of sessions available at the centre for mums and babies, including swimming lessons, bounce and play sessions and group exercise classes – it’s also a great place to make new friends and socialise.”
More support available locally
The Wokingham branch of the BfN has a volunteer-led drop-in service. Confidential face-to-face help is offered by peer support volunteers through various sessions across the borough.
Drop-ins can be accessed by any mother or breastfeeding parent, whether they are pre or post-natal and regardless of the age of their child or children. Volunteers have breastfed their own children and have been trained to guide people through the basics, help them to gain confidence and listen to any questions or concerns.
To book an appointment or video call, or to enquire about volunteering with the BfN, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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