Pictured are staff from Western Isles Hospital’s Midwifery team (L-R): Diane MacDonald (Midwife), Catherine Gillies (Maternity Team Leader), Donna Maclean (Administrator), Joan Mackay (Midwife) and Nan Morrison (Healthcare assistant)

National Celebration Week ran from 19th – 23rd June and NHS Western Isles joined the celebrations around the Western Isles to promote the benefits of breastfeeding.

Led by the Maternal and Infant Nutrition group, the campaign aims to bring the conversation about breastfeeding to the fore and highlight the benefits to both babies and mothers. As well as having all the vitamins and nutrients that baby needs, breast milk also contains disease-fighting substances. Breastfeeding is also beneficial to mum – as well as being convenient and environmentally friendly it can help mum return to her previous shape and reduce the risks of some diseases.

Public stands were set up in Western Isles Hospital, Uist and Barra hospital and Stornoway Library. Pictured is the Western Isles Hospital display, with some of the midwifery team.

UNICEF Accreditation
NHS Western Isles has achieved full accreditation for the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative, which is a global programme that aims to increase breastfeeding rates and continually improve care for mothers and babies. The internationally recognised award has been given to both hospital and community services.

Emelin Collier, ​Western Isles Child Health Commissioner, said “Surveys show that women don’t always feel confident breastfeeding in public. NHS Western Isles wants women to know that their Health Visitors, Midwives and local health board are committed to providing support, advice and encouraging all public places to be a welcoming environment”

Local Support Groups
Bosom Buddies is a local support group for women who are breastfeeding and offers professional and peer support. The group meet every Wednesday in the Retirement Centre, Bayhead, Stornoway from 10am-12pm.

Baby Massage courses are also available throughout the Western Isles. As well helping create a calm mood to enhance the breastfeeding experience, there are a range of benefits for mother and child.

If you are interested in being involved in a group, contact your local health visitor.