National Breastfeeding Awareness Week
It’s National Breastfeeding Awareness this week but the government withdrew funding to centrally co-ordinate the campaign. It’s down to volunteers, charities and the blogosphere to raise awareness but will we reach those who really need to know?
Already Twitter and Facebook are buzzing with information, views and experiences of breastfeeding including an enlightened article on the Guardian online on the potential impacts of the lack of funding for the event. It’s heartwarming really and ironically an example of Cameron’s beloved Big Society. For the record I’m pro-choice, as I’ve seen the pressure and challenges of breastfeeding as well as the joy and benefits, so I’m for an informed choice. It’s clear from discussions with mothers from other areas of the country that breastfeeding support is patchy depending on where you live. Plus mainstream media love the breastfeed bandwagon to push their newsource or sell papers, leaving parents feeling confused and battered. It’s hard to switch on to a sensible debate about breastfeeding when many groups discussing it have a hidden agenda (hint: look at who is sponsoring any research published).
In my view, look towards the groups whose only agenda is to improve the welfare of newborns, growing babies and mothers. Unicef’s Baby Friendly initiative is a great place to start. Of course, parents require online access for these pages but many of the UK’s Department of Health booklets are available from midwives, health visitors, childcare centres and surgeries.
One thing every campaigner, support worker or health professional must understand is many mothers are empowered from the moment they give birth. Something happens, like a switch being flicked deep inside our genetic make-up. Ultimately we all agree, it’s about the welfare of the child but it’s a partnership where all involved need to be engaged (including partners). So any breastfeeding advice, coaching or literature needs to appeal to this instinct and continue to make parents feel in control.
Photo credit: koratmember/ Free Digital Photos / Portfolio