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BREASTFEEDING AWARENESS WEEK

don’t

BOTTLE it! The eleventh of May sees the start star t of the NHS National Breastfeeding Awareness Week: a publicity drive to educate and encourage new mothers to boot the bottle and breastfeed their babies. The Lancashire-based Be A Star campaign has also generated a significant buzz around the topic through its provocative She’s Not A Celebrity…She’s A Star images. The aim of both campaigns is to alert mothers to the hows and whys of breastfeeding; and Kudos have enlisted the help of Little Angels and The Hub, the community interest company and creative agency jointly responsible for Be A Star, to answer some of the big questions…

benefits

What are the of breastfeeding? The physical contact of breastfeeding is not for all mothers, and neither the NHS nor Little Angels make any attempt to criticise those women who have made their decision not to. Instead, their aim is to convince women who have not decided and feel ill-informed both about the sensation of breastfeeding and its health benefits. Many mothers who breastfeed attest to the remarkable closeness that they feel with their baby and the inevitable bonding that this produces. The health benefits apply to both mother and child, and it is widely acknowledged that there is no entirely satisfactor y replacement for natural milk. Its high content of vitamins, minerals and antibodies can help to protect the baby from such nasties as gastroenteritis, diabetes and ear infections. Mum benefits because oestrogen levels are low while breastfeeding, therefore significantly reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

What is the

best way to breastfeed?

how many mothers breastfeed

and for how long?

The percentage of women that star t breastfeeding when their baby is first born is still high. National Statistics show the figure to be around 78% of women that begin breastfeeding, but that this figure drops to around 48% by 6 weeks of age. The statistics are more worrying among young, white, working class women where the percentage of mothers taking up breastfeeding can be as low 50%. As mentioned already, the drive to raise awareness about breastfeeding does not seek to be prescriptive: Be A Star exists only to inform and help, with a view to dispelling negative social responses to the act of breastfeeding. As well as spreading the message through poster and radio ad campaigns, the Be A Star website provides a user-friendly blog to provide an open and frank forum for discussion of the issue of breastfeeding, where experiences can be shared and questions answered. For more information go to www.beastar.org.uk

There is no hard and fast rule or single correct way to breastfeed. There are however, some guidelines to ensure that you aren’t going wrong: make sure your baby’s head and body are in a straight line and that his/her back, shoulders and neck are suppor ted. Your baby should be attached to your nipple comfor tably, with his/her nose level. The process shouldn’t cause the mother any pain, and the baby should maintain a steady rhythm; when your baby is finished, he or she should come off the breast of their own accord. The photos were created by The Hub, and all of the models are real breastfeeding Lancashire mothers. The company claims that the images and their distinctive taglines “suggest that, despite the obvious pride, confidence and beauty of the mother, her real star quality lies in the fact that she has chosen to breast feed her baby.” All photos © The Hub, taken by Andy Farrington


BREASTFEEDING AWARENESS WEEK

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Don't bottle it - Be a Star breastfeeding campaign  

Health advice article on breastfeeding.

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