Dedicated breastfeeding room opened in Sheffield Town Hall

Following the successful opening of a dedicated breastfeeding room in the Moor Market, the council have now officially opened another in Sheffield Town Hall.

Monday, 1st October 2018, 4:52 pm
Updated Monday, 1st October 2018, 4:58 pm
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, with breastfeeding mums at the opening of a new breastfeeding room at the Sheffield Town Hall.
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, with breastfeeding mums at the opening of a new breastfeeding room at the Sheffield Town Hall.

The opening of the new room, which is located just off the reception area of the Town Hall on Pinstone Street, coincides with the start of a citywide campaign to make Sheffield the first breastfeeding-friendly local authority.

The campaign will see all Sheffield council buildings, that are open to the public, as well as premises owned by their partners and contractors, showing support of breastfeeding and breastfeeding mums.

The new breastfeeding room is one of around 300 breastfeeding friendly venues in Sheffield

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The room has been freshly painted, with a comfortable breastfeeding chair, baby changing station, a water cooler and fan, to create a friendly and safe atmosphere for both mum and child.

Sheffield has the highest breastfeeding rate in Yorkshire and Humber, and was one of the first areas to receive the prestigious Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative in recognition of the city's work promoting breastfeeding across all its services.

However, according to research by Swansea University, 40 per cent of women who stop breastfeeding by six weeks cite being judged, discouraged and shamed in public as a main reason.

Lucy Mellon-Jameson with Jude and Kelly Gray with Charlie at the opening of a new breastfeeding room at the Sheffield Town Hall.

Lucy Mellon-Jameson, aged 30, of Woodhouse is a first-time mum to nine week old Jude, and after experiencing stigma when breastfeeding in public is welcoming the new room.

She said: 'In the first eight days after Jude was born especially I was struggling because his weight had dropped significantly.

'The midwife told me that he needed formula to bring his weight back up, and I'd already introduced it when another midwife came and told me it was rubbish.

'It was hard and confusing dealing with all the conflicting information. I thought I wasn't doing the right thing for him, and as a first time mum I just wanted to make all the right decisions. 

'I was out in a cafe and it was the first time I'd finally plucked up the courage to breastfeed in public. 

'The lady on the table next to us stood up and returned her food, she said she couldn't eat with me doing that.

'As it was shortly after his birth I was still mentally and physically exhausted so didn't say anything, but now looking back I wish I would have challenged it. It knocked my confidence a lot.

'I think these rooms are needed after a bad experience especially as a first-time mum. It's about feeling safe and comfortable.'

Mother-of-three Kelly Gray, aged 33, of Foxhill is training to be a breastfeeding peer support volunteer, to help other mums if they choose to breastfeed.

She said: 'There's quite an age gap between my children, I've got two girls aged 10 and 14, and then Charlie who is six and a half months. It's hard work and mums need support.

'I have breastfed all my children, I always knew that was what I wanted to do, and luckily I didn't have any medical issues such as mastitis. 

'I had my 14-year-old when I was only 19 and being a teen mum in itself has it's own issues but each pregnancy has it's own hurdles you have to overcome.

'You have to deal with peer pressure, family pressures, the expectations of you as a woman, with my daughter there was a lack of support from my mum she was going out buying bottles in case I failed.

'I now breastfeed everywhere, in Asda, Tesco, I don't let anyone put me off. It takes a lot of guts to do that, and I think new mums can lack that confidence at first.

'I offer others a cloth to put over their head if they don't want to see me breastfeeding. I just think these rooms are great, they give new mums the confidence they need, we can breastfeed anywhere but it's not normalised in society.'

Currently, there are over 300 breastfeeding friendly venues across the Sheffield, with a dedicated quiet space or room for breastfeeding mums.

You can find support and information about breastfeeding here.