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 Queens Gardens in Hull on Friday 31st July at 10.30am, hosted by staff from City Health Care Partnership CIC’s children’s services and backed by NHS Hull CCG.
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, “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 six 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.”
Mum Catherine Shaddick has found the support of Hull’s breastfeeding services vital in helping her to continue to feed Nathaniel, now seven months old. “My health visitor initially referred me for support when Nathaniel was five weeks old because he wasn’t putting on weight and we’ve really benefited from it. Debbie came to see us and helped us with positioning and latching on and she visited every week for two months as well as keeping in touch by phone. She was really good, reassuring me and giving practical help; just really, really helpful. I was so keen to continue and she was an absolute lifesaver. The peer support groups have also been brilliant; it’s just so nice to talk to other mums and to know that you’re not on your own.”
Click here for 10 top tips for breastfeeding from your local infant feeding co-ordinator.