Leeds Best City for Health and Wellbeing

Council supports employees to breastfeed or express milk at work

Leeds City Council has updated its work practices to support new mothers to breastfeed or express milk at work.

The council has reviewed its Infant Feeding Policy to allow new mums up to an hour of paid time to breastfeed or express breastmilk for their baby during work hours. Breastfeeding plays an important role in helping children develop a healthy immune system; it protects against longer-term health conditions such as diabetes, cancer and obesity and supports the creation of strong emotional bonds between mother and baby.

The aim is to support women to continue to breastfeed for as long as they want to, recognising the benefits and good physical and emotional health outcomes for both mother and baby. The policy also ensures all Leeds City Council public areas and venues provide a welcoming atmosphere for breastfeeding families.

The updated policy has been agreed by the council’s political and corporate leadership teams, in partnership with trade unions.

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, an executive board member for health, wellbeing and adults said:

“I am extremely proud that we are setting a precedent in Leeds by offering our staff up to an hour of paid time to breastfeed or express breastmilk for their baby during work hours. This supports our pledge to ensure that Leeds is a Baby Friendly City and reinforces the work we are doing to make all of our public council buildings child, family and breastfeeding friendly.

“We want to make Leeds the best city for health and wellbeing for all ages. It is policies such as this that will really help drive this work forward, along with supporting our Child Friendly ambitions. Breastfeeding can have a long-lasting, positive impact and helps to forge strong emotional bonds between Mum and baby. I hope that other organisations and businesses across Leeds will be inspired to follow in our footsteps by encouraging and facilitating breastfeeding – in recognition of its importance for mother, baby and the wider family.”

This week, 4-10 November is also Baby Week Leeds – a week-long celebration of everything that supports and promotes a new baby’s growth and development mentally and physically. Leeds is the first UK city to replicate the UNICEF Baby Week model to bring sectors together, share best practice and promote Best Start programmes.

Leeds has an ambition to be the best city for health and wellbeing, as outlined in the council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy. One of the 12 priorities set out in the strategy is to ensure that Leeds is a Child Friendly City where children get the best start in life.

More information about Leeds City Council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk