By Rach Griffiths
In aid of world breastfeeding week, Crewe mums organised a breastfeeding hangout in Crewe on Thursday 8th August with help from the local breast feeding support organisation Cherubs.
The aim was to create awareness of breastfeeding and Cherubs within Crewe.
It also meant that you got to hang out with like minded mums and have a bit of a picnic.
All were welcome whether you are currently breastfeeding, have done so in the past, want to in the future or have never thought about it, or just wanted to come along to support and learn more.
Lots of mums and hungry babies turned up to join in and the weather was lovely.
There were children of all ages having a great time on municipal square.
Dads came along to support the event too and relaxed in the summer sunshine.
Mums were breast feeding babies throughout the duration and were having a good old chat with mums of all ages.
It was a lovely thing to be part of and I learned a few things myself that I had not really thought about before.
They had even brought along homemade ‘Boob’ cakes to support the cause along with information flyers.
I had a chat with one mum who told me she was originally from London.
She had her first children down there before moving to Crewe where she eventually had her youngest child.
She said she had breast fed all her children and found that she felt more intimidated by doing it in public here than she did in the capital city which surprised me.
She welcomed this picnic to raise the awareness of breastfeeding and thought that feeding her baby in a group was a brilliant step to hopefully gaining more acceptance across Crewe and Nantwich so other mums may feel more at ease.
Deciding to breastfeed is one of the best things you can do for your baby, it will benefit them for life.
Babies are designed to breastfeed, and your breasts are designed to make the perfect milk for your baby.
I myself have two children who were both formula fed babies due to severe health problems I had during their two births.
I was very ill both times and unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to try, I fully support this cause and I wanted to find out more about how people can get themselves involved in this fantastic awareness event.
On behalf of The Crewe News I spoke to Debbie Grice who is a local breast feeding support worker for the Crewe area about how the idea of this picnic came about.
“The idea to celebrate World Breast feeding week was an idea of local mum Becky Keelagher.
A first time mum who heard about CHE.R.U.B.S (Cheshire Really Useful Breastfeeding Support) when she was pregnant.
She came along to several of our support groups we run each week in and around South/Mid Cheshire to find out more about breastfeeding and how ordinary local women, with support, reassurance and correct information just get on with it with success.
She has attended the groups since her baby was born 4 months ago and despite having a few issues in the first weeks, knowing who to go to for help and support, she’s got through the first tough weeks of learning and gaining confidence and is now passionate about helping other mums”.
CHE.R.U.BS started three and a half years ago and consists of an Infant Feeding Co-ordinator and two part time Breastfeeding Support workers (Debbie Grice and Jane Wilkinson).
“We are based in Crewe and Winsford respectively as these areas have been identified as least likely to breastfeed in Cheshire.
Despite being a small team, we have made a steady impact on local breast feeding rates, both initiation and continuation.
We work closely with Health Visitors, Midwives and the Leighton-based Infant Feeding Support Workers to ensure new mums get increasingly better support and information.
Both the hospital and our community staff have been working towards achieving the UNICEF Baby Friendly Awards”.
CHE.R.U.B.S have a website: www.cherubsbreastfeeding.co.uk and they also run a support group on Facebook for new breast feeding mums and mums to be who would like to know more about it and get help and knowledge before the baby arrives.
This group is full of support and encouragement and they have mums from all areas of Cheshire and allsorts of backgrounds ranging from first time mums, to mums with several children they formula fed, with the latest addition now being breastfed.
They currently have 660 members and gain around 10 new members every week.
This mum to mum support is 24/7 and very important to new mums.
Health professionals are important and play their role in helping women to breastfeed, but also having friends who can keep you going is vital.
I asked Debbie for some key facts about breast feeding rates in the Crewe area.
“Around 60% of babies born at Leighton are given their first feed as a breastfeed but by 6 weeks, this figure drops to around 40% and keeps dropping.
Women who are case loaded by the Cherubs team, so given additional support in the form of home visits, phone calls, texts and seen at the support groups generally carry on breast feeding for much longer and data from a recent audit showed that at 6 weeks, over 75% of Cherubs supported women in Crewe were still breastfeeding which is nearly double our county figures.
Winsford boasts similarly positive percentages.
Lots of women have been lead to believe they can’t do it, that it will hurt and they won’t make enough milk etc.
The vast majority of women can do it (with the right support and information) and if it is hurting, this means they need some extra support in positioning and attaching the baby and very few women (single percentages) may not be able to produce enough milk.
Breastfeeding is a good idea as it benefits both mum and baby’s health enormously but it also burns 500 calories a day producing milk for baby and it is definitely the ‘lazy’ way to feed your baby.
A baby will let you know when he wants feeding and you pop baby on and let him or her feed.
When baby is done, they will let go.
You can trust a breastfed baby to eat to their appetite, so there is less incidence of colic and reflux symptoms.
A breast also acts as a great source of comfort if frightened, in pain, sleepy or any other reason.
If a breastfed baby bumps his head when learning to sit up, the mother will scoop him up and pop him on the boob.
The bumped head is quickly forgotten about by baby and there is instant silence for mum”.
Local councillor Michelle Sherratt has just become a new mum for the second time herself and is fully supporting this awareness event.
“Being a breastfeeding mother to my 3 month old son, I wholly advocate the picnic. Breastfeeding has massive benefits for baby and for mum, whilst I think it’s every woman’s right to choose how to feed their child, there needs to be more support to those mums who breastfeed in public, the picnic was an excellent place to start.
CHE.R.U.B.S and all the mums who have accessed and benefited from the service do not want to ram breast feeding down anyone’s throats, they respect all women’s choices, they also realise that women aren’t always enabled to make an informed choice so want as many Cheshire mums and dads to know support and information is available to them.
It is friendly, informal, non-judgmental and can be tailored to each individual family’s needs.
In Crewe there are three CHE.R.U.B.S breast feeding support groups each week.
One in Winsford, one in Nantwich and may others further afield.
They actively encourage all pregnant mums to come along, feel welcomed and at ease and hopefully feel free to ask all the questions they dare not ask the Midwife!
For more breast feeding facts and support please visit the website on the link below.