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Feeding baby is so natural ... you should never be told to leave.

Byline: SARAH WALKER sarah.walker@eveninggazette.co.uk

A MUM-OF-SEVEN today welcomed more support for breast-feeding mothers after figures revealed a rise in the number of bottle-fed babies.

Despite a series of national and local campaigns urging women to breast-feed, statistics show fewer mums are using the method.

Now South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is opening a new breast-feeding clinic in Redcar, for those experiencing feeding problems, to help tackle the issue.

The move was welcomed by Diane Mucklow, 42, from Redcar.

She said: "It is good what they are doing. You do hear stories about women being asked to leave places because they are breast-feeding, which is absolutely shocking.

"There are a lot of women who are not comfortable breast-feeding, especially in public. Breast-feeding is one of these taboo subjects, but it's natural and it shouldn't be."

Diane bottle-fed her children as she found it "more convenient" and "knew the exact amount they were getting".

But she said increased support and advice could help more women, especially younger mums, choose breast-feeding.

New figures show the number of breast-feeding women dropped across Teesside in 2011 to 2012.

The rate of breast-fed babies in Redcar and Cleveland has fallen 1.8% since 2005. While Stockton and Middlesbrough have increased breast-feeding rates 2.5% and 1.7% respectively since 2005, both local authorities saw a decline of 1.8% and 0.8% since 2010.

Health chiefs across the area have run a number of campaigns to encourage breast-feeding.

They even enlisted the help of knitting gran Mavis Pickering who created woolly breasts used by South Tees Hospitals Trust in workshops to show new mums ways of getting a baby to feed.

Other ongoing initiatives include a "breast-feeding welcome" scheme launched late last year to help make new mums feel more comfortable feeding in public.

This sees cafes, restaurants and businesses displaying signs to say breast-feeding is welcome on their premises, as well as in Redcar and Cleveland Council buildings.

The moves were welcomed by Amy Rooney, 22, a full-time mum to Franky, one, and Delilah Ivy, three months, from Park End, Middlesbrough, who said she would have liked more support on breast-feeding.

She said: "I wanted to breast-feed my little boy, but I'd been in labour 36 hours and by the time I had him I was far too tired and he just went on bottles. The hospital didn't really talk to me about it.

"With my little girl, I didn't think of breast-feeding, she just went on bottles."

Vicky Head, South Tees infant feeding co-ordinator, said: "We are increasing the support we give to mums with the establishment of a breast-feeding clinic for women who are experiencing feeding problems."

There area lot of women who are not comfortable breast-feeding, especially in public ""

CAPTION(S):

- mum Diane Mucklow, who admits she bottle-fed twins Jasmine and Teagan, now two, above "

BREAST IS BEST: Knitting gran Mavis Pickering, far right, with infant feeding co-ordinator Vicky Head during their campaign to encourage mums
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 17, 2013
Words:499
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