Monday, 13 June 2011
I have neglected my blog recently, mainly due to the impending breastfeeding flashmob I have been busy organising!
If you are interested in taking part then please join the facebook group:
BREASTFEEDING FLASHMOB to challenge low breastfeeding rates.
Melinda Messenger champions first ever celebration of ‘boobies for babies’
Time: 2pm Friday 24th June, central London.
An expected 100-200 breastfeeding mothers will all nurse their infants together in a flashmob, championed by ex-Page 3 favourite Melinda Messenger and organised by two mothers from Henley-on-Thames.
The mothers want to celebrate National Breastfeeding Awareness Week call for a more breastfeeding friendly UK and aim to improve on the shockingly low breastfeeding rates. Many women feel inhibited about breastfeeding in public despite the equality act passed in 2010 that protects women, allowing them to breastfeed their baby anywhere regardless of the baby’s age. The sight of a nursing woman is rare in the UK.
A recent survey of 1,200 women carried out by the National Childbirth Trust showed 65 per cent intended to not breastfeed for fear of being stared at.
Mother of 3, and winner of 2003 celebrity mum of the year award Melinda Messenger says: “The law says mums have the right to breastfeed anywhere but they can be put off by uncomfortable looks and embarrassed stares so we need to challenge British reserve and celebrate the act of breastfeeding in public.”
Overall, only 35 per cent of UK babies are exclusively breastfed at one week, 21 per cent at six weeks, 7 per cent at four months and only 3 per cent at five months of age (source: Office for National Statistics). This is despite the World Health Organisation recommending exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age. This shows there is something seriously wrong with the breastfeeding culture in the UK.
The flashmob is an independent group of mothers that are passionate enough about breastfeeding to try to improve on these scary statistics. By creating this large collection of nursing mums they hope to achieve the following:
• Encourage mothers to feel confident when they breastfeed in public.
• Help those who do not feel comfortable around nursing mothers to feel more at ease.
• Call for a more open- and healthy-minded attitude to breastfeeding for future generations.
• Remind people of the breast’s primary purpose, a natural part of our existence.
• Get breasts in the media for the right reason.
The originator and main organiser of the flashmob, Rose Tolhurst, says ‘”I was amazed at how the Facebook flashmob group grew so quickly. There are so many passionate breastfeeders out there who all want to do their bit to tackle society’s prudish attitudes towards breasts. If we can encourage even a handful of women to feed confidently in public then it will have been worth it. This is not a breast versus bottle issue, it’s bigger than that, it is breast versus society!”
Co-organiser of the flashmob, Anna Higgs, adds “It’s time for us breastfeeding mothers to take a stand. Boobs are for babies too, and we want to remind the general public that breastfeeding in public is natural and not an antisocial act. This is particularly important since according to a recent BBC documentary ‘Is Breast Best?’ the UK has the second lowest breastfeeding rates out of 36 European countries.”
Rose and Anna recruited the breastfeeding mothers through Facebook and by posting a ‘call to arms’ on various parenting and pro-breastfeeding websites. A straw poll of the flashmobbers reveal that 63% have received uncomfortable looks or comments from strangers while feeding in public.
Some of the mums in the flashmob have been made to feel acutely embarrassed by ill-judged comments from staff in hospitals, famous high street stores and coffee shops. For example, Kelly Parsons was having a cup of tea and feeding her baby in Starbucks. Even with her discreet nursing apron on a member of staff took offence and asked her to do it somewhere else next time!
Media enquires to:
Rose Tolhurst – Flashmob Main Organiser rose_tolhurst(at)yahoo(dot)com
Anna Higgs – Flashmob Co-organiser annacolette(at)gmail(dot)com
Rose Tolhurst blogs at: nurturewithsoul.blogspot.com
Anna Higgs blogs at: http://www.partmummypartme.blogspot.com/
WHO Breastfeeding Facts and Statistics http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/
The Office for National Statistics performs its Infant Feeding Survey every five years. The figures from the 2005 survey were published in March 2008. http://www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/health-and-lifestyles-related-surveys/infant-feeding-survey/infant-feeding-survey-2005
Mother and Baby survey, carried out in conjunction with NCT. http://nctwatch.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/mother-and-baby-survey-reveals-mothers-worries-about-breastfeeding-in-public/
NCT Document summary: Key Baby Feeding Statistics from the 2005 UK Infant Feeding survey. http://www.nct.org.uk/sites/default/files/related_documents/DS14%20Infant%20Feeding%20Survey%202005%20Key%20Statistics%20%5BUK%5D.pdf
National Breastfeeding Week Info for 2011: http://www.lactivist.net/?p=2768