What is the 'Breastfeeding welcome here' scheme?
The 'Breastfeeding welcome here' scheme is an initiative which aims to make it easier for mums to recognise places where they can breastfeed their baby when they are out and about.
Why do breastfeeding mums need support?
Breastfeeding is very important to the health of both mother and baby. Mothers who breastfeed are at less risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from infections and allergies, and are also less likely to go on to develop childhood diabetes and obesity.
Northern Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe. While half of all new mums here start breastfeeding, many quickly stop. This is often because they feel there is a lack of support, particularly when they want to feed their baby outside the home. Breastfeeding should be part of everyday life and can be done very discreetly.
Why should my business get involved?
Every business knows the value of repeat customers and word-of-mouth. Breastfeeding mums who feel that they and their babies are made welcome while they have a cup of coffee, a meal or go shopping, will come back to your business and will also tell their friends. Joining the scheme gives you an opportunity to boost your business and benefit your local community at the same time.
All businesses that are part of the scheme will be given recognition through ongoing promotion and awareness raising. If your business joins the scheme it will be listed on this website so parents can find it.
Who is eligible for membership?
Businesses which are open to the general public, for example coffee shops, restaurants, shops, supermarkets and hairdressers, are eligible to join the scheme. In order to join, your business must fulfil the membership criteria below.
- Breastfeeding is acceptable in all areas of the business premises that are open to the general public.
- A mother who is breastfeeding in an area of the business premises open to the general public will not be asked to move to another area or stop breastfeeding.
- All staff members are made aware that the business is a member of the scheme and are therefore supportive of the needs of breastfeeding mums.
- The public are made aware that the business is a member of the scheme and supports breastfeeding through the display of the scheme's window sticker and certificate on the business premises.
Joining the scheme
Joining the scheme is straightforward:
- A senior member of your business will be asked to sign a written agreement which states that the business will adhere to the membership criteria (the written agreement will be issued to you if you request more information below).
- The signed agreement should be returned to the Public Health Agency (PHA).
- The PHA will issue the 'Breastfeeding welcome here' certificate and window sticker once the signed agreement is received.
- The name of your business will be added to a list of premises participating in the scheme and published online on this website.
- Ongoing monitoring will then be undertaken by mums from local breastfeeding support groups to ensure that businesses which have signed up to the scheme are adhering to the criteria.
All businesses participating in the scheme will be given recognition through ongoing promotion and awareness raising. If your business joins the scheme it will be listed on this website so parents can find it.
Businesses which fail to adhere to the criteria will be notified and may have their membership revoked.
Please fill in your details below to request a copy of an information booklet containing the scheme agreement or click here to download a request form that you can post back to the Public Health Agency at the freepost address provided.
Please click here to view the list of businesses that have already joined the ‘Breastfeeding welcome here’ scheme.