Mums asked to help make Calderdale even more breastfeeding friendly as part of National Breastfeeding Week

New mums in Calderdale are being asked to give their views on what makes a welcoming place to breastfeed your baby as part of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week.

Calderdale is hosting various activities to mark National Breastfeeding Celebration Week (which runs from June 17 to 23) and part of that involves asking mums for their experiences of breastfeeding in public buildings and local businesses.

The feedback on what makes a good place to breastfeed will be used to help create the criteria for a Calderdale Breastfeeding Award which will be awarded to business and organisations which create a welcoming experience for breastfeeding mums.

Calderdale Council’s Public Health Team, Locala Community Partnerships’ Health Visitors and volunteer Breastfeeding Peer Supporters, along with Calderdale’s Children’s Centres have joined forces for the survey and activities to mark National Breastfeeding Celebration Week.

This year’s theme for the national week is promoting the benefits of skin to skin contact, both immediately after birth and throughout the early weeks of life.
Cllr Faisal Shoukat, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Cohesion, said: “It’s so important that babies get the best start in life and research shows that England has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. Around 80% of babies are breastfed at birth and we know that falls to around 40% after six to eight weeks.
“In Calderdale we know that those mums who want to breastfeed do welcome the support and guidance on offer from Health Visitors, volunteer Breastfeeding Peer Supporters and children’s centres, so they can meet the challenges that breastfeeding can sometimes pose.”
Alison Walklate, Locala Health Visitor and Lead on Infant Feeding, added that it was important that everyone supported breastfeeding mums and that was the reason behind the survey: “We know that mums feeling comfortable to breastfeed when they are out and about with their babies is vital – and that’s where our public buildings and local businesses can really help by offering those welcoming environments.”
Mothers can take part in the survey at the events to mark National Breastfeeding Celebration Week, when they visit a well-child clinic over the next few weeks, or by posting on the Locala Calderdale Health Visitors and the Calderdale Breastfeeding Peer Support Service pages on Facebook.
In addition to the survey other events are taking place too across Calderdale.

That includes:
• Wellholme Park Children’s Centre hosting a session for mums on Monday 17th June at the Breastfeeding Friends Group which runs from 10am to 11.30am.
• Todmorden Children’s Centre has a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter led group on Thursday 20th June between 10 and 11.30am with back massage and pelvic health information for mums from physiotherapists from “Physio and Therapies” based in Todmorden.
• Illingworth Children’s Centre is hosting an event on Thursday 20th June between noon and 3pm. The event Includes, hand and arm massage, nails, baby massage information, refreshments and free raffle.
To find out more about the activities on offer during National Breastfeeding Celebration Week visit the Locala Calderdale Health Visitors and the Calderdale Breastfeeding Peer Support Service pages on Facebook.
The latest training for new volunteer Breastfeeding Peer Supporters will take place in September for anyone who would like to help mums with breastfeeding help and advice. Further details on vacancies and the application form can be found at
The Breastfeeding Peer Supporter Service can also be contacted on 07920 466660.

Men as Parents


This year will see an extra Father’s Day present for men in Calderdale – a whole fortnight of experiences aimed at helping them be the best parents/carers they can be.

To help inspire dads, grand-dad’s, step-dads, uncles, male carers and dads-to-be to take up the challenges they face in bringing up and supporting children aged under 5  – Men as Parents fortnight (1st to 15th June) offers a range of activities and information, all tailored to men, their families and children.

During the two weeks, there will be a series of Men as Parents events for men and their under 5s to experience including: an open day at Illingworth Fire Station, Bookstart Baby sessions, support to help you encourage your child to ride a bike, pyjama reading parties at Calderdale Libraries, and ‘Getting Ready for Baby’ sessions.

You can view the full timetable here.

Leading experts worldwide agree that care given during the first 1000 days has more influence on a child’s future than any other time in their life. During these early years of a child’s development dads, along with the wider family, have a significant role to play in supporting the child to have the best start in life.

Paul Butcher, Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Our recent Men as Parents survey showed that dads and male carers of under 5s in Calderdale wanted access to more activities and information to help them improve their parenting and strengthen the connections they have with their children.

“Men as Parents fortnight is the first step to helping men to access the support they want, to give their children the best start in life. It’s great to see so many different organisations getting involved. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dad, grandad, step-dad, uncle or carer, there’s something that everyone will benefit from during the fortnight.”

For information on Men as Parents events follow the updates on social media using the hashtag #menasparents

Various organisations are working in partnership to organise the two week campaign, including Locala Community Partnerships CiC, Calderdale Council, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, North Halifax Trust Children’s Centres and Halifax Opportunities Trust Children’s Centres.

The campaign will coincide with National Children’s Day on 1st June and Men’s Health Week (10th– 16th June).

National Smile Month – new oral health leaflet launched

Healthy smileA new Oral Health leaflet specifically for parent carers of children and young people with a disability or additional need.

‘Healthy Teeth, Healthy Smile’ has been developed by Locala PHEYs Calderdale, Oral Health Team in partnership with Locala Dental Care.

The first oral health survey of children attending special support schools (2014) showed 5-year-olds had similar levels of tooth decay as their mainstream-educated peers but were twice as likely to have had one or more teeth extracted. For 12-year-old children, those who had decay had it more severely with more teeth being affected.
The leaflet is being launched during National Smile Month (May-June 2019)

During the campaign the Team is working with specialist schools to distribute the leaflet and it will also be promoted through the Local Offer and Unique Ways as well as other appropriate services.

Kids Walk 2019

This year’s Kids Walk 2019 organised by the road safety charity Brake takes place on Wednesday 26 June.

Schools and organisations can sign up now for your free action pack including stickers, certificates, posters, lesson plans and other activities, and get your kids walking.

This project aims to inspire and engage children about the dangers they face and help Brake call on grown-ups to make their streets safer. Click here to find out more

Help to get your child ready for school

To support parents, Calderdale PHEYS Health Visitors and Calderdale School Nurses have worked together with partner agencies to produce a parents’ leaflet for School Readiness.

The leaflet gives simple advice on issues including immunisations, self care and how to support children’s social and communications development.

school readiness leaflet cover

A recent survey of school leaders by NAHT and Family and Childcare Trust highlighted concerns around children’s readiness for school.

Key findings:

  • Four fifths of respondents (83 per cent) said that they believed that there is an issue with the school readiness of some pupils starting school.
  • 86 per cent believed school readiness has become worse over the past five years.
  • 24 per cent said that more than half of the intake was not school ready.
  • Speech, language and communication issues were of greatest concern with 97 per cent of respondents identifying this as a problem and almost half (47 per cent) saying it was the most significant.
  • Two thirds (67 per cent) said one of the likely reasons children are not school ready is a failure to identify and support additional needs early enough.
  • 66 per cent said that parents had fewer available resources or that there are more pressures on family life.

Please download a copy of the leaflet by clicking here.

Men as Parents – give your views

Are you a male? Do you care for a child aged 5 or under? Do you live in Calderdale? Then we want to hear your views.

The ‘Men as Parents’ survey aims to capture the views from men who care for a child or children under the age of five e.g. dad, grandparent, uncle, brother, step dad, dad to be.

The information from this survey will help us to inform and potentially shape the development of future Calderdale Council and other partner organisations’ services, activities and groups for men who have a caring role for a child aged 5 or under in Calderdale.

Your journey through maternity care –

A new partnership of maternity services in West Yorkshire and Harrogate, including those in Calderdale, have joined forces to create a new leaflet for mums-to-be.

The leaflet explains the main options available to help you decide on what kind of maternity care and support you want to access in Calderdale. It includes a range of help and advice as well as contact information for local services.

You can download the leaflet here.

The NHS organisations in West Yorkshire and Harrogate are working
together as a Local Maternity System (LMS). You can find out more about the work of the partnership on its website.



A Day in the Life of a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter

Breastfeeding 2

The Calderdale Breastfeeding Peer Support Service currently has almost 50  volunteers who donate more than 150 hours a month to support new mums in Calderdale on their breastfeeding journeys. They can provide support in a number of ways, including home visits, support at Baby Café’s and breastfeeding groups, and can provide a seven day service through hospital visits and providing support by telephone.

We spent the day with the service to find out more!
Bridget Hall is the Calderdale Breastfeeding Peer Supporter Co-ordinator and knows the stats only too well –   “up to 80% of mums begin breastfeeding”, she says, “so support within those first few weeks can be crucial”. However, women can access the support of the Breastfeeding Peer Supporters at any time during their breastfeeding journey. These volunteer Supporters provide help and advice on a number of questions and concerns, including hand expression and storage, positioning and attaching baby at the breast and mums returning to work. Breastfeeding Peer Supporters will also signpost women to further medical support if required.
So, taking a typical day, the first visit was to the Calderdale Baby Café, based at Halifax Dance Academy which was full to bursting with new mums, their new-born babies and a number of dads, grandmas, aunties and sisters providing support along the way.

The Baby Cafe offers specialist support to breastfeeding mums experiencing persistent and complex breastfeeding problems. Support is provided by experienced and trained health professionals including infant feeding advisors, midwives, health visitors and maternity support workers. The Baby Cafe also provides support with all aspects of breastfeeding and offers the opportunity to chat to other mums and Breastfeeding Peer Supporters.

Mums often signpost to this service themselves, but can also be referred after a telephone consultation with a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter.
The room had a fantastic bustling, yet relaxing, vibe and those attending were also able to make use of the children’s play area to entertain older siblings and self-weigh service on offer too.

The Breastfeeding Peer Supporters were kept incredibly busy, and were making their way around the room, knitted breasts in hand, speaking to mums about their experiences and signposting them to further support from a Health Visitor and Infant Feeding Advisor, which is also provided at the session. Some of the mums had been seen by the Breastfeeding Peer Supporters on the maternity wards of Calderdale Royal Hospital, and it’s great to see the Peer Supporters continuing to be part of their journey.
The Breastfeeding Group at Illingworth’s Children’s Centre was the next stop and had a noticeably different atmosphere, a social space where mums could engage with their peers, make new friends in their community and encourage their toddlers to play together.

A free baby massage class was in full swing and even though only one mum accessed the support of a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter in the short time Bridget was there, the discussions were all very affirming, if one woman walked through the door and found the support she needed on that day, whether that be advice with a specific breastfeeding concern or just a general chat with someone who could place themselves in her shoes, it was worthwhile.
Many of the breastfeeding peer supporters spoke of the same reasons for volunteering in this role; being able to give something back and share their knowledge and skills. However, it also seemed that many of the supporters had also found something in the service for themselves. Bridget explained that many of the Breastfeeding Peer Supporters go on to study and find careers born from their voluntary experiences. One Peer Supporter, Sarah Hanrahan had just begun a role as a Midwifery Assistant at Calderdale Royal Hospital, and enthused about how being a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter had given her the confidence to apply for the role.
Mums can self-refer to the service by contacting the team on 07920 466 660 or 030 0304 5076. Information on breastfeeding support can be found here.