South East Essex's expectant mothers have been given a new way of learning to breastfeed using novelty kntting!
Westcliff Women's Institute have created knitted breasts in a variety of colours as part of the NHS South Essex's implementation of the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative.
The programme, established by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, seeks to encourage maternity hospitals to put in place the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
Fifty of the WI knitted breasts have been given to mums-to-be at the Summercourt Children's Centre at Milton Hall Primary School, Westcliff-on-Sea.
Margaret Gray, head of public health at NHS South Essex said they were "grateful" for the gifts.
"They are not just a gimmick - breastfeeding is all about getting the position of the baby right on the breast and it’s very hard to do this without a breast and a baby."
"The knitted breasts supply the breast and, by using a doll, we can show mums-to-be what breastfeeding and a good latch-on should look like from their perspective, looking down upon the baby."
Gayla Rowling, manager of Summer Court Children's Centre added, "breastfeeding has a multitude of benefits both for the baby and mum and we are keen to support women so they can breastfeed."
“The knitted breasts mean we can practically show women the technique for breastfeeding - and make giving advice on breastfeeding a bit more fun!”
According to NHS Choices, the benefits of breastfeeding are numerous for boths new mums and babies. As the natural food for a newborn, it protects from infections and diseases and can also help to build a strong physical and emotional bond between mother and baby.
Eleanor King, a breastfeeding peer supporter in Westcliff, has used her knitted breast when supporting other breastfeeding mums.
The 36-year-old said, "my knitted breast is really helpful to be able to show good positioning and attachment, and also to demonstrate hand expression of breast milk."
For more information about the UNICEF baby-friendly breastfeeding initiative visit http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/