Breastfeeding mums are being welcomed at Keighley Leisure Centre.

Bradford Council is offering facilities at all its sports centres and swimming pools.

It is supporting a Bradford and Airedale Teaching Primary Care Trust (tPCT) campaign to encourage more mothers to breastfeed in public.

The tPCT launched a "Breastfeeding Welcome Here" scheme after figures showed breastfeeding rates in Britain were among the lowest in Europe, with only 78 per cent of babies being breastfed.

And the figure is even lower in the Bradford district, at 63 per cent.

Steve Warner, the council's head of sport and leisure, said: "I am very aware that breastfeeding has many health benefits for mums and babies alike, which is why we are delighted to be supporting the tPCT with this very important initiative.

"The current breastfeeding rates in our district are alarmingly low so I hope that by making our pools and sports centres breastfeeding-friendly we can contribute in some way to addressing this concern."

Bradford and Airedale tPCT breastfeeding co-ordinator Janette Westman said many new mums in the district started breastfeeding but then quickly stopped.

"This is often because they feel there is a lack of support, particularly when they want to feed their baby away from home," she said.

"The Breastfeeding Welcome Here' scheme is helping to create a culture in which breastfeeding is seen as an acceptable thing to do, whether you are out shopping, in the library, at a café, in the park or on the bus.

"Businesses that support the scheme will be helping to protect the health of mother and babies in the local community and by making life easier for mums, they show they care about customers.

"This will encourage the customers to come back in the future, which is good news for mums, babies and businesses."

Any business or organisation wanting to sign-up to the scheme should contact Janette on 01274 364583.

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