Breastfeeding or chestfeeding? Whatever you call it, we’re celebrating it!
This week is World Breastfeeding Week. The world celebrates World Breastfeeding Week from August 1 to August 7 every year, to spread awareness about its importance and need.
Breastfeeding can look different to so many people, you might pump, combi feed, hand express or you might be cluster feeding (if you are, it won’t last forever, don’t worry!)
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We are currently three years into our feeding journey and every morning I wake up thinking, this is it. Today will be the last day she feeds. And lo and behold, the next morning she comes crawling into our bed at 6am asking for milk.
We never envisaged to still be feeding our daughter after she turned three. In the early days I used to set goals of one week, then one month and then all of a sudden six months had passed.
For me I was lucky, I had very supportive friends and family around me but I still needed to reach out for professional help. I managed to find Bristol Breastfeeding Mummies on Facebook who were an online lifeline for me.
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The group provide breastfeeding information, support and friendship for Bristol, South Gloucestershire and surrounding areas.
The group is made up of professionally trained breastfeeding counsellors, lactation consultants, trained peer supporters and thousands of people who have or are currently breastfeeding.
In the early hours of the morning I always knew someone in the group would be awake and willing to answer my questions no matter how ridiculous they may have seemed at the time.
I personally love this week, the images floating around social media celebrating people are breastfeeding or chest feeding, it brings back so many memories and it’s always nice to read about people’s journeys to where they are now.
However this week can really cause some divide and upset to many people because sometimes breastfeeding isn’t something they particularly feel like celebrating.
Lots of people have preconceived notions of how their feeding journey will pan out, being told it is completely natural you assume it will come naturally to you.
But this isn’t always the case. I never knew how anxiety inducing it could be, the pain in the initial days as both you and baby learn together how it all works, what is the most comfortable position for you both and how to function with a lack of sleep.
It can be tricky as everyone’s journey looks different so it can be easy to compare your experiences to someone else’s.
So many parents are determined to breastfeed, the determination can lead to desperation and this perseverance is great, but sometimes it is not enough. This is why this week is so important.
Caprice Fox is BristolLive’s new parenting writer. She lives in Fishponds with her wife, daughter and their labradoodle Rosie. She is a part time primary school teacher who is usually found in the kitchen cooking for her family, frantically picking up dog poo in the garden or trying to get a bit of piece and quiet by escaping to Lidl!
The objectives of World Breastfeeding Week 2021 are to inform people about the importance of protecting breastfeeding, anchor breastfeeding support as a vital public health responsibility, engage with organisations for a greater impact and galvanise action on protecting breastfeeding to improve public health.
It is about support, both mental and physical and making sure that you are informed in order to make the right decisions for you and your baby. It is about making sure that support is available and is a priority for new parents.
This is not currently a priority for government, despite reports finding that investing in these services and training could save the NHS money. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of support out there but it is definitely not accessible for every new parent.
It is something that you often have to actively seek out and sometimes you need to pay for which is a luxury that not all can afford. High quality support should be accessible for all.
World Breastfeeding Week is about recognising the need for help as well as change. This is not about breast is best, or fed is best. ‘Best’ is being informed and having access to a support system during your parenting journey.
For up to date information and support here are some fantastic free online resources;
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