Council criticises Meadowhall over lack of support, as it pledges to make all of its public venues 'breastfeeding friendly'
All public venues owned by Sheffield Council are set to become ‘breastfeeding friendly’ with designated rooms for mums and babies.
There are 260 breastfeeding friendly venues in Sheffield but the council wants more organisations to provide facilities and is particularly critical of Meadowhall.
The council says most mums prefer seating in a main public area of a venue but rooms should be available if they want privacy.
Debbie Hanson, health improvement principal at the council, says in a report: “Where a designated breastfeeding room is possible, it should have a comfortable chair, baby changing facilities, including nappy disposal, and be big enough to accommodate a pram/other child.
“Signage for the room must show that it is for breastfeeding - no images of bottles should be used.”
The council wants Stagecoach, all Sheffield International Venues, South Yorkshire Police, schools, libraries, housing offices and family centres to become breastfeeding friendly too.
The report adds: “In the town centre there are department stores with unsatisfactory facilities and there is a long-standing issue with breastfeeding support in Meadowhall and on public transport.
“It is essential that the council sets the standard in this area of public health and encourages other large and small organisations to follow.”
The government recommends exclusive breastfeeding until baby is six months but in Sheffield the rate drops from around 80 per cent at delivery to 50 per cent in the first few weeks after birth.
The report says: “Breastfed children are less likely to be absent from school... and have better developmental outcomes, a decreased risk of tooth decay and obesity in later life.
“Women living on low incomes or in deprived areas are among those least likely to breastfeed and by officially stating that the council is breastfeeding friendly some of these obstacles can begin to be tackled. To treat a woman less favourably because she is breastfeeding is sex discrimination.”