THE North-East’s first Baby Café is being launched to provide breastfeeding mums and their families with support.

The pioneering venue will open in Middlesbrough this week and is designed to be a focal point for free support for new mothers.

The café has been set up in the Live Well Centre at Dundas House and will provide weekly drop-in sessions for local mums and those wanting more information about breastfeeding.

An official launch event and opening day tea party took place on Friday, April 20 and open sessions will run from 10am to noon from this following Friday, April 27.

National Childbirth Trust (NCT) Baby Café co-ordinator Trina Warman said: “The first few weeks can be tough for new mums and one of the things they may need support with is breastfeeding.

“It’s really important that there is somewhere supportive and friendly for women in this area to go to discuss issues with feeding.

“Women can find out about breastfeeding at Baby Cafés and decide if it’s for them and get information on mixed feeding and expressing.”

Research shows that 80 per cent of women who stop breastfeeding in the first few weeks would have liked to continue and many stop through a lack of support.

Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “Breastfeeding plays a hugely important role in a child’s early development, so it’s essential that we do everything we can to increase its uptake and continuance.

“The Baby Café is a great addition to our local public health provision and I know mums will welcome the ability to access support and share experiences in a relaxed environment.”

An NCT breastfeeding counsellor and volunteers will be on hand at the Baby Cafés to give information and encouragement and the sessions also provide an opportunity for local mothers to socialise.

Baby Café is a network of over 50 breastfeeding drop-in support groups across the UK.

They usually take place at weekly sessions in easy-access venues such as community centres and church halls.

• Middlesbrough’s Baby Café opens in the Live Well Centre in Dundas House, Dundas Shopping Arcade, Middlesbrough, TS1 1JA on Friday, April 20.