Health professionals are spearheading a new local campaign to stave off archaic prejudices of breastfeeding.
The ?Be A Star? campaign uses real mothers making the choice to breastfeed appear glamorous and even confrontational ? and applauds it as an achievement. Several local Primary Care Trusts have also collaborated on the project.
The idea is the brainchild of Little Angels, a community interest company in central
Michelle Atkin points out that in small towns, other people recognise the mothers in the posters as women they know or have seen around. “We know these pictures are being noticed?the women are admired for the fantastic way they look, and then it’s spotted, hey, she’s breastfeeding!”
Steven Johnson, from Preston-based media agency The Hub who devised the campaign, says: ?The cult of celebrity is very strong in this group, but it made no sense to blow the budget on a celebrity endorsement. It was far more powerful to make celebrities out of the mothers.? Johnson says the mood reflected in the campaign is confidence, pride and ?even something bordering on defiance.?
Raising the number of mothers who breastfeed is a national public health target, and primary care trusts (PCTs) are required to submit their figures to the Department of Health for publication.
Many of the arguments against breastfeeding are actually more attributable to myths, such as modern formulas being very similar to breast milk, breast feeding making breasts saggy, and that bottle-feeding is easier. The latter opinion is held generally as many women, especially young and first-time mothers are not given the correct information and support in the first instance.
The advantages of breastfeeding are not often celebrated. As well as reinforcing the physical and emotional bond between mother and baby, breast milk provides babies with all the nutrients they need for the first six months of life.
Breastfeeding helps to protect babies against ear infections, chest infections, eczema, obesity and asthma to name a few, according to NHS website breastfeeding.nhs.uk. But the benefits to be reaped are not only for the baby. Breastfeeding has also been shown to protect mothers from ovarian and breast cancers, and from weak bones in later life.
An additional bonus for mums is that women who breastfeed return to their pre-pregnancy figure faster. This could be regarded as good news for mums who feel increased pressure from images of celebrity yummy mummies who lose weight speedily (and what is sometimes referred to as unhealthily) after giving birth.?