BREASTFEEDING mannequins have been strategically placed in health centres in a bid to encourage more mums to nurse their babies in public.
The models have taken up residence across the city to help self-conscious new mums feel more comfortable.
The idea is that by placing the mannequin in the public areas, which will also include children’s centres, the practice of breastfeeding in public will become much more accepted.
The move is just one of a number of initiatives taking place in the city to promote the practice.
As part of the Bosom Buddies Breastfeeding Support Group, 20 mums have also just completed their training to become volunteer peer supporters.
The 10-week course, designed by the La Leche League, aims to train parents who have breastfed their children to help support others with breast-feeding concerns.
Amanda Dunbar, the breastfeeding peer support co-ordinator, said: “It makes me extremely proud each time a group graduates and I’m delighted that this has been one of the largest groups in several years.
“Everyone has worked really hard to get here and they are all dedicated to helping other parents give their children the best start in life.
“It’s amazing to think that my training has come full circle. Only six years ago I was graduating from my own Bosom Buddies course – now I’m working with other mothers in Sunderland to help them do the same.”
Rachel Francis, one of the new graduates, said: “Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your child as it builds their immunity and forges a strong bond between mother and child.
“I’m really excited to start working with families to help them understand what an important difference it can make to their baby’s life.
“Sunderland does a brilliant job of promoting the benefits of breastfeeding to new parents, and the Bosom Buddies groups are just one part of the campaign.”
Bosom Buddies is open to all mums throughout Sunderland, whether they are mums-to-be, new mums or mothers who are experiencing problems with breastfeeding and the support group allows more experienced mothers to offer advice and support on breastfeeding issues in an open and friendly environment.
Alongside the trained Bosom Buddies peer councillors, there are also health workers present at each meeting to provide full support to mothers.