A large annual get together to celebrate world breastfeeding week has had to be cancelled in Jersey.
'The Big Latch' usually involves dozens of mothers and babies gathering at the Elephant Park, to show that breastfeeding in public shouldn't be taboo.But due to the pandemic, organisers from The Baby Friendly Initiative in Jersey are taking the week long event online instead.Mothers can get involved by uploading a "selfie" of them breastfeeding their child using the hashtag #VirtualBigLatchJersey2020.
We wanted to ensure that we still celebrated what has become an annual event, whilst acknowledging the change in the way that we communicate and support breastfeeding journeys. As many services became virtual during 'lockdown', it seemed particularly apt that our community event for this year would also be a virtual one, drawing on the power of social media to keep us connected in celebration.
Local photographer Sophie Darwin has taken pictures of a number of local mothers breastfeeding on the doorsteps of their homes, with babies and children of all ages.
Their images will be shared on Family Nursing & Home Care's social media channels over the duration of World Breastfeeding Week.
As a mum of two I've struggled and persevered with breastfeeding and I know how important it is to raise awareness of the support available to mums who want to breastfeed. Creating doorstep portraits of mums feeding their babies is a special way of sharing their own breastfeeding stories and I hope their images and words help to inspire and supporting other parents.
Health Department statistics show that more than three quarters of women breastfeed their babies at birth, but that figure drops to just over half, eight weeks later.
Success in breastfeeding is not about who tried the hardest - it's about having those many layers of support in place. This can mean ensuring partners are involved, involving grandparents, ensuring public facilities are welcoming for breastfeeding mothers and that employers value the ongoing breastfeeding or provision of breast milk to their staff's children when they return to work.