Cumbria to host breastfeeding festival
Last updated at 15:29, Tuesday, 10 August 2010
Cumbria will host the first ever Breastfeeding Festival to take place in the UK next week.
The festival is the idea of a group of mums in south Cumbria and takes place in Ulverston from Monday August 16 to Sunday August 22.
There’ll be lots of events for parents, children, parents-to-be, grandparents and grandparents-to-be and organiser Jo Dawson, mother to two-year-old daughter Emmie, hopes it will be a celebration and promotion of breastfeeding.
“Nobody has done this before so we are making it a national festival,” she says. “The advice given to new mums about breastfeeding is different to the information given to previous generations.
“In the 1950s the advice was based on formula feeding. They didn’t understand the different things that go on if you breastfeed, such as milk supply, the importance of feeding your baby and needing to establish a good milk flow.
“If you don’t feed your baby regularly the milk can build up and this sends a message to the brain that the baby doesn’t need that much milk.
“Some mothers still tell their daughters how to breastfeed based on their own experience but the advice is different now.
“Breastfeeding is demand-driven whereas in the past mothers were told to feed every four hours because formula is difficult to digest, but milk is easier to digest.
“Formula is now seen as a lifestyle choice.”
With the help of other volunteer mums, Jo has organised funding for the festival from generous donations, fundraising through sales of second-hand baby goods and collecting aluminium cans and selling them for scrap.
The Breastfeeding Festival recently became a member of the Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition, a group of 38 organisations including Unicef UK and the Royal College of General Practitioners set up to lobby the Government on breastfeeding issues.
One of the festival’s main events this year will be a workshop on the Breastfeeding Manifesto, followed by the creation of a huge picture of a mother feeding her baby, made up of people, instead of dots of paint, and recorded from above.
The festival will be the first time portraits of mothers and babies by artist Kate Hansen have been seen outside her native Canada. Her works have caused controversy recently after she posted her artwork on Facebook and they were then deleted as they were seen as offensive.
“Women feel attacked when images of a woman breastfeeding get removed,” says Jo. “It is a problem with society as a whole.”
Also taking place during the festival week are films and a radio documentary, all of which look at a different aspect of breastfeeding, including Formula for Disaster which looks at the marketing of infant formula in the Philippines and Mother’s Milk, an award-winning short film dealing with donating milk to a human milk bank following a stillbirth.
Visitors will be able to join in knitting breasts to donate to hospitals for breastfeeding demonstrations.
Gillian Weaver, Chair of the United Kingdom Association for Milk Banking (UKAMB), will be giving a presentation on milk banking and will have a stall for UKAMB at the Breastfeeding Fair.
Mike Brady, campaigns and networking coordinator for Baby Milk Action, will be giving a talk on the marketing of infant formula in the UK and will also have a stall for Baby Milk Action at the Breastfeeding Fair.
There’ll also be classes for grandmothers to experience what effect the advice they were given had and how the current advice is different.
People are expected to travel from Yorkshire, Manchester, Bristol and Ireland for the festival.
The festival takes place in a variety of venues across the town and all events are free.
For more information about the Breastfeeding Festival, visit www.thebreastfeedingfestival.org.uk
First published at 11:24, Tuesday, 10 August 2010
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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