Jersey's Baby Friendly Initiative Operational Group Celebrate World Breast Feeding Week and Support Mums With Online Campaign
Mums in Jersey who breastfeed are being invited to take part in World Breastfeeding Week (1 -7 August 2020) in a different way this year.
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding. It is promoted by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and in Jersey, by the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) operational group.
The group consists of health visitors, midwives, a post-partum doula and mums who are actively involved.
For the past few years, the Baby Friendly Initiative operational group in Jersey has organised a community event to celebrate, raise the profile of, and normalise breastfeeding within Jersey. The event, known as The Big Latch, last year, was attended by hundreds of mums to show their support of breastfeeding, and is an opportunity for mums to meet up and relax in a friendly setting with their babies.
However, due to current restrictions around large group events, The Big Latch cannot go ahead this year, but mums can still get involved in showing their support for breastfeeding by uploading a “selfie” of them breastfeeding their baby or child, at the start of the awareness week, on Saturday 1 August, on social media using the hashtag #VirtualBigLatchJersey2020.
Sarah Keating, Family Nurisng and Home Care’s Breastfeeding Lead and BFI Lead, said: “Quite early this year it became clear that our normal gathering in a park to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week wouldn’t be able to go ahead due to the government guidelines around COVID-19. However, we wanted to ensure that we still celebrated what has become an annual event, whilst acknowledging the change in the way that we communicate and support breastfeeding journeys. As many services became virtual during ‘lockdown’, it seemed particularly apt that our community event for this year would also be a virtual one, drawing on the power of social media to keep us connected in celebration.”
As well as the #VirtualBigLatchJsy2020 online event, local photographer Sophie Darwin has photographed a number of local mums breastfeeding on the doorsteps of their homes, with babies and children of all ages. Their images will be shared on Family Nursing & Home Care’s social media channels over the duration of World Breastfeeding Week.
Every year, health visitors at Family Nursing & Home Care and midwives from Health and Community Services advise and support new mums who choose to breastfeed.
Sarah added: “Our health visitors are proud to work with all mums after the birth of their baby. One of the most common issues we’re asked about and offer support with, is breastfeeding. If mums choose to breastfeed their baby, it’s really important that they feel supported to do it and that they feel they have access to the best information.
“Many new parents will know the benefits of breastfeeding; they will have had conversations with their Health Visitors and Midwives about feeding choices, they will know what support is available to them. But Breastfeeding success is not as simple as the parents knowing those things, which is why our community event is so important; parents also need to feel accepted in their feeding choices by society, we need policy makers to ensure maximising breastfeeding potential is considered and prioritised, we need community support.
“We know that having a baby is full of new experiences and can be both happy and overwhelming. It is not surprising that getting used to a new routine, many mums struggle with breastfeeding. We support all mums in their feeding choices, and if we can help with breastfeeding support, we are only too pleased to do that.”
“While this is World Breastfeeding Week, it’s really important to recognise that 8 out of 10 women in the UK stop breastfeeding before they want to. Breastfeeding is not an individual responsibility, but is a collective government, policy maker, community, and family responsibility. Education is key, not just for professionals supporting parents, but also for our society, so they too can support our breastfeeding parents.
Sarah explained: “Success in breastfeeding is not about who tried the hardest, it’s about having those many layers of support in place which together support a mum to breastfeed. This can mean ensuring partners are involved, involving grandparents, ensuring public facilities are welcoming for breastfeeding mothers and that employers value the ongoing breastfeeding or provision of breast milk to their staffs’ children when they return to work, by providing facilities to allow breast-feeding or milk pumping to take place.”
“So, this week we celebrate breastfeeding, but we also celebrate the many women whose breastfeeding journey was not as they expected; particularly in the pandemic where face to face support has been reduced, family support has been limited, and undoubtedly some parents will have stopped breastfeeding as a direct result of that lack of practical support. Their journeys deserve applause too.”
“As we continue through the pandemic, and a return to more traditional methods of support become increasingly available, families can access Feeding support though both their midwives and Health Visitors directly.”
Photographer Sophie Darwin said: “I have loved being able to contribute to this project because it’s a subject close to my heart. As a mum of two I’ve struggled and persevered with breastfeeding and I know how important it is to raise awareness of the support available to mums who want to breastfeed - it’s not always an easy journey. Creating doorstep portraits of mums feeding their babies is a special way of sharing their own breastfeeding stories and I hope their images and words help to inspire and supporting other parents.”
Deputy Louise Doublet, Chair of the Jersey UNICEF BFI Steering Group said: “Raising breastfeeding rates across the population is one of the most important things we can do for the short- and long-term health of babies and mothers. I’m passionate about working towards every single family on our island having the support they need to breastfeed for as long as they want to. I found that when my own baby was very young, the community of other breastfeeding Mums was absolutely invaluable to me. I hope that other women will be inspired by the camaraderie that is out there and connect with each other by posting a selfie, sharing Sophie’s images, and writing about their own experiences on social media.”
The origins of World Breastfeeding Week:
WBW is celebrated every 1-7 August in commemoration of the 1990 Innocenti Declaration. WBW started in 1992, with annual themes including healthcare systems, women and work, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, community support, ecology, economy, science, education and human rights.
There is information on breastfeeding here:
Media information and contacts for this project:
Sarah Keating, BFI Project Lead:
Sa.firstname.lastname@example.org and 07797 924021
Sophie Darwin, Photographer:
email@example.com and 07797 924792
Deputy Louise Doublet, Chair of the Jersey UNICEF BFI Steering Group
firstname.lastname@example.org and 07797 766784