It’s World Breastfeeding Week from 1 to 7 August and thousands of breastfeeding women and their babies and children across the world will gather in their own communities to take part in the Global Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event in multiple locations. Our local Big Latch On will take place at the Bandstand, Queens Gardens in Hull on Friday 5th August at 10.30am, hosted by staff from City Health Care Partnership CIC’s children’s services.
Breastfeeding contributes to the normal growth and development of babies and children, and those who are not breastfed are at increased risk of infant morbidity and mortality, adult obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer (both mum and baby). The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life to optimize these benefits, continuing to breastfeed for two years and as long thereafter as is mutually desired by a woman and her child.
Debbie Jackson, Infant Feeding Co-ordinator at City Health Care Partnership CIC says, “This will be the second time that we have taken part in the Big Latch On. We will be hoping to build on the success of the event last year when over 30 mums and dads attended and had a lovely day”.
“Hull traditionally has a culture of bottle feeding so some of the women who will be taking part in the Big Latch On will have broken with family traditions to give breastfeeding a go. Around 65% of mothers initiate breastfeeding and whilst some mothers will have goals to only breast feed for a short period of time, others plan to feed their babies into toddlerhood.
“Our Health Visitors have undergone Five to Thrive and infant mental health training to offer guidance to all parents to encourage the bonding and attachment process. The Big Latch On will bring together different agencies who support breastfeeding mothers in the community including health visitors, Children’s Centre staff, the breastfeeding peer support service and the infant feeding co-ordinator. There have been massive developments in the support offered to breastfeeding mothers in Hull in the last seven years and we hope that lots of mothers come along so that we can unite and celebrate together and demonstrate our commitment to ‘normalising’ breastfeeding and supporting each other.”
The Big Latch On aims to protect, promote and support breastfeeding families by:
- Providing support for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide ongoing breastfeeding support and promotion in local communities.
- Raising awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available locally and globally.
- Helping communities positively support breastfeeding in public places.
- Making breastfeeding a normal part of day-to-day life at a local community level.
- Increasing support for women who breastfeed – women are supported by their partners, family and their communities.
- Ensuring communities have the resources to advocate for coordinated appropriate and accessible breastfeeding support services.
Top tips for breastfeeding mothers
- Get help from your midwife or health visitor to make sure that your baby is correctly positioned and attached, as this will prevent problems and make breastfeeding easier
- Breastfeeding is a skill that you and your baby learn, so ask for help and advice
- Try not to compare your baby with a formula-fed baby; they will feed very differently
- Offer both breasts at each feeding. Babies are very clever; if they want more they will take it but if they have had enough they will refuse the second breast
- Night feeds are normal and essential to maintain your milk supply so breast feed at night. Sleep hormones are released for both you and your baby when you breast feed.
- You can never over feed a breastfed baby and it is fine to offer the breast to comfort your baby
- Although you can’t ‘see’ what the baby is getting you can tell they are getting enough milk if they are settled following feeds and have sufficient wet and dirty nappies. Be confident in your ability to nourish your child
- Visit your local breastfeeding support group for peer support and social contact
- Breastfeeding is much more than just food: it offers comfort and security and lifelong protection against some illnesses
- Don’t watch the clock, watch the baby – look out for feeding cues and feed in response to these
- Take each day at a time and praise yourself for what you did that day
- Enjoy time with your baby – cuddling enhances babies senses and releases hormones that help their brains grow
- Relax with your baby and relax on the housework – babies will be babies for only a short period of time so enjoy these moments
- Accept any help offered from friends and family so you can concentrate on nourishing your child
- Never give up on a bad day – tomorrow may be totally different!