World Breastfeeding Week begins this Thursday (1 August) and to mark this, one of our midwives is launching a campaign to normalise breastfeeding in public.
Amy Macatonia, based on the Birth Centre at Queen’s Hospital, who’s currently expecting baby number two, said: “We want to change the perception of breastfeeding, normalising it as many women don’t feel comfortable to breastfeed in public. So I want to encourage mums to share their own selfies of them feeding their babies on social media, some of which we’ll also put up in the corridors of our hospital.
“Some of our staff have already been sharing their selfies, now I want to encourage local mums to join in. There’s a massive breastfeeding community in our area and it’s important to remember that other women have issues too. We should all be supporting each other; no woman should feel isolated for their feeding choices. Make sure you tag @BHR_hospitals when tweeting your picture.”
The 33-year-old has also shared her own difficulties when she breastfed her first child, son Eran, now two, to help other women realise they’re not the only ones who have issues.
Eran was cluster feeding, at one point feeding constantly for 12 hours, leaving Amy’s nipples cracked and bleeding, and she found herself encouraged to give up so she could get some rest.
She added: “I knew that wasn’t what I wanted. It was a healthcare assistant who realised he had tongue tie and was only getting tiny bits of milk at a time.
“Often, people think tongue tie is the issue and it isn’t, however, in my case it was. He had a snip to free his tongue and it was ten times better. People assume because I’m a midwife who advises other women on breastfeeding I’d sail through it, but it didn’t mean I didn’t have my own issues!”
Amy is also keen to ensure women know that support is out there. See below for a range of support services, including groups run by volunteers, local children’s centres and national helplines:
LatchOn, Havering, http://latchon.org.uk/
Redbridge, 0800 587 7500
Children’s centres in all of our areas can also provide support to breastfeeding mums
Childbirth Trust breastfeeding line - 0300 330 0771
National breastfeeding helpline – 0300 100 0212, nationalbreastfeedinghelpline.org.uk
La Leche League llli.org
Bengali breastfeeding helpline - 0300 4546 2421
UK breastfeeding support
Basildon Breastfeeding support
UK Breastfeeding and parenting support