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Photo exhibition of local mums and infants for Breastfeeding Week

National Breastfeeding week (1 to 7 August 2018) is to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding, explain what support is available and highlight the links between good nutrition and breastfeeding.

To launch the week, our infant feeding team worked with creative students from George Monoux College and local photographer, Frances Easter Brennan, to organise a photography exhibition. 

The exhibition features local mums who breastfeed and have used the HENRY Waltham Forest infant feeding support service.

Support for mums

We’ve partnered with infant feeding charity HENRY to create HENRY Waltham Forest. It’s where local mums can get support and advice on breastfeeding. HENRY Waltham Forest offers drop-in sessions and breastfeeding cafes.

Download the HENRY Waltham Forest breastfeeding support timetable for 11 September to 14 December.

To get support from our infant feeding experts whether you are breast, bottle or mixed feeding, call Henry Waltham Forest on 020 8496 5222.

You can also get support from the NHS Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend app and Chatbot.

Benefits of breastfeeding

There are many benefits and advantages of breastfeeding – not only for your baby, but for you too:

  • protecting your baby from infections through natural (germ killing) antibodies  present in breast milk. These antibodies help your baby fight infections like tummy bugs, diarrhoea, colds and chest and ear infections.
  • contains vitamins and nutrition much easier to digest for babies than formula.
  • reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death, and childhood leukaemia. Any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial, but exclusively breastfeeding your baby for 6 months offers a lot more protection.
  • Protects long term health and reduces chances of children becoming overweight or developing diabetes when they get older
  • lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis (weak bones), diabetes and cardiovascular disease (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels) in mothers who breast feed

Source: www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/breastfeeding

Cllr Naheed Asghar, Lead Member for Health and the Voluntary Sector, said: “Supporting breastfeeding is everybody’s responsibility and the council recognises that breastfeeding can only be successful with the right support in place. 

“The HENRY Waltham Forest infant feeding team offers advice and support to parents in Waltham Forest  feeding their babies and it’s great to see some of the parents getting involved and sharing their stories with the community in such a creative way.

"They have already worked with over 2,000 families in Waltham Forest since its inception in September 2016 and will continue to work in Waltham Forest to support mothers.”

Cllr Grace Williams, Lead Member for Children and Young People, said:

“The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous and affect the health of babies well beyond childhood into the adult years. Although breastfeeding is hugely beneficial for mothers and babies, mothers in the UK still face barriers.

“A combination of pressures to return to work, worries about feeding in public and a lack of local support means many mothers in the UK are not breastfeeding their babies. To ensure best outcomes for babies, we need to take steps to protect, support and promote breastfeeding. It's great that Waltham Forest is already investing in well-needed support for mothers and their babies and it is important that we continue working with more mothers in the borough.”

Get the app for 24/7 breastfeeding advice

The 24/7 Breastfeeding Friend app from Public Health England provides NHS-approved advice to mums who need support with breastfeeding.  Just as the name says, it gives advice round-the-clock.

Here’s how you can enable it for your devices:

What breastfeeding means to local mums: photo exhibition

The photography exhibition took place on Wednesday 1 August at Waltham Forest Town Hall. It featured photos of thirteen mothers from across the borough feeding their child in everyday locations. Accompanying the photos, each of the mums tells her breastfeeding story in her own words. 

The exhibition will feature around Waltham Forest including Stow Brothers Estate, KuKooLaLa Café in Leyton and the William Morris Gallery in Lloyd Park.

Laura and George, by Joana Caleça

“I thought breastfeeding would be so easy, but it was so hard. We struggled to find the latch and it was so painful, but with the help of the amazing HENRY team, we got there. Our friends from HENRY were so kind, supportive, encouraging and available any time we needed them. George is thriving now and breastfeeding is so easy. I’m so glad we persevered. It’s really special to feed your baby yourself. Our bodies are incredible!”

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Laurene and Noah, by Marija Karalyte

“Noah is now 9 months-old and has been breastfed since birth. I’ve been very lucky in that there have been no problems as many women struggle, it has been exhausting at times but completely worth it.” 

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Madeleine and Jacob, by Marija Karalyte

“For me, breastfeeding is more than just a way of feeding my baby. It is a way of comforting him, connecting with him and enjoying each other’s company.

After a difficult first few weeks of breastfeeding, it is now a convenient (and free!) way to feed my baby.

Breastfeeding gives us a few minutes of calm in an otherwise busy day.”

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Katie and Mabel, by Joana Caleça

“The most difficult job but what an honour and miracle to be able to nurture my baby.

Exhausting and lonely yet I’ve never felt more full of love and happiness.”

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Lynn and Fergus, by Barbara Kozma

“I love the immediacy and convenience of breastfeeding. Plus it’s free!”

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Serra and Evren, by Frances Easter Brennan

“When my son was born we had a really tough time with breastfeeding due to an undiagnosed tongue-tie. However, we continued to persevere with breastfeeding as it was, in spite of the challenges, the most wonderful thing during the early days of motherhood. As time went on and we overcame the difficulties we had, now five months on it’s still the best thing about motherhood. When he looks up at me whilst feeding I realise there is nothing quite like that feeling, it really is pure love.”

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Hannah and Freya, by Frances Easter Brennan

“After an unplanned c-section, breastfeeding helped me to bond and connect with my baby.

Knowing I could give her the best start in this way has helped me grow as a mother.”

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Emily and Ada, by Frances Easter Brennan

“Breastfeeding is a lovely way for Ada and I to bond and be close to one another. I like the fact that I can meet her needs in this way whenever and wherever we are. It hasn’t always been easy but I’m really proud that we’ve kept up breastfeeding for nearly six-months now and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.”

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Rachel and Cecilia, by Frances Easter Brennan

“Breastfeeding has been a great opportunity to bond with Cecilia. I love our special feeding times together. I hope we’ll continue this when I go back to work and it will be a lovely was to reconnect on the days we are apart.”

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Vicky and Thomas, by Frances Easter Brennan

“My first baby was tube and bottle-fed in NICU originally. Bonding with him through breastfeeding was incredibly important to me. We found it very hard. It later transpired he had multiple allergies and could not have formula or prescribed formula. I breastfed him until he was two and no longer wanted it.

My second baby has had tongue-tie snipped twice and is also showing signs of allergy so it’s incredibly important I feed him and manage what I eat.

I love being able to comfort him with my breast and watch him as he feeds, looking into my eyes. The bond I have with my babies is so precious and I love knowing they’re getting my anti-bodies and the best nutrition. I also really, really love not having the faff of bottles and formula!!!”

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Kay and Hafsah, by Drwena Shiwani and Anda Marin

“Breastfeeding has been a fantastic opportunity for me to bond with my babies, despite being full of many challenges. It’s been a really special experience for us as a family. I have accessed many support services to overcome feeding challenges and these enabled me to breastfeed my son for two years and I’m currently feeding my 6-month-old.”

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Jo, Charis and Ursula, by Marija Karalyte

“Breastfeeding is bonding with my daughters, a quiet close time. It is providing the best for her emotionally and physically. My daughters don’t look like me, so I am very proud to breastfeed in public as it makes our relationship clear. Often people assume that my daughter is adopted, so this is a moment when it is clear that she is my biological child.

I love how breastfeeding is so much more than food for my baby - it is her comfort, her emotional connection with me. She loves the closeness to me, especially at night. If she is ill, or upset, I can always comfort her by feeding her.

The journey of breastfeeding hasn’t always been easy with my second child, but we carried on and now it is all fine. I’m so glad we carried on because now it is a lovely bond between us.”

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