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Baby cafe opens in Beccles today

PUBLISHED: 09:22 23 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:00 01 August 2010

YOU can't get fitter than a breast-fed nipper.

That is the message being given to mums to encourage them to give their little bundles of joy the best start in life through breastfeeding.

YOU can't get fitter than a breast-fed nipper.

That is the message being given to mums to encourage them to give their little bundles of joy the best start in life through breastfeeding.

But while most mums probably expect the whole process to come instinctively, the reality can be rather more tricky.

How do you know if your baby is getting enough to eat? Have they “latched on” properly? Will it hurt?

These are all questions that baby cafés can help answer.

Since throwing open their doors, the venues have helped explain to thousands of new mums why breast really is best.

And the trend is set to continue as two new baby cafés open in Martham and Beccles today to give mums and mums-to-be the help, advice and support they need.

The first baby café in Norfolk opened in Wymondham in 2005 and there are now 18 operating across the east of England.

The free drop-in centres are generally open once a week and provide support in a relaxed, café-style environment for breastfeeding mums and expectant mums who are interested in breastfeeding.

The new cafés are a joint venture between NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney's breastfeeding team, children's centres, midwives at James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and local health visitors.

They have been introduced following the success of similar projects in Gorleston, Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Margaret Holtz, breastfeeding team lead with NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: “Feedback we've had from mothers using our other baby cafés has been very positive, with many appreciating the expert help and advice on offer.

“The cafés also give women the chance to meet others in a similar situation so they can share experiences and help each other over difficult periods.

“Research into the health benefits of choosing breast over formula milk shows that breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight or obese or suffer from allergies, infections, asthma and eczema.

“They are also at lower risk of cot death. Mums who breastfeed are also less likely to get cancer or brittle bones later in life, and find it easier to return to their pre-pregnancy weight more quickly.

“We hope that lots of new mums and mums-to-be will come along with their partners to take advantage of this free service and find out how they can help their baby have the best possible start in life.”

World Health Organisation research shows that breastfed babies perform better in intelligence tests later in life and are 37pc less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and 22pc less likely to be overweight or obese.

Breastfeeding mums are less likely to get cancer and brittle bones in later life. As breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day, they are also more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight more quickly.

Mums at a baby café at Gorleston said the service was invaluable. The café has been running for over two years and is run by health visitor Justine Hogg and midwife and breastfeeding specialist Curita Reilly.

Sam Mannall, whose son Joshua is two months old, said: “It is really nice to meet other mums and have somewhere where we can feed more privately. It is a very relaxing atmosphere and I am happy because I know I am giving him the best start.”

The Martham Baby Café will be held at the Trinity Children's Centre in Black Street, while the Butterflies Baby Café will run from the Beccles Children's Centre on Castle Hill. Both open every Monday between 10am and noon.

Anyone is welcome to drop in, or can contact the breastfeeding team on 01493 852209 to find out more.

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