Published Monday 9 June 2014 at 10:39
A Darwen mum has spoken about her positive experiences with breastfeeding ahead of a week-long celebration of breast feeding in East Lancashire.
Katrina Shepherd, 31, from Darwen is mother to three year old, Matilda, and is currently 27 weeks pregnant with her second child.
After a tricky start, Katrina exclusively breastfed Matilda from three months and will be looking to do the same when her new baby arrives.
She’s now encouraging other local mums to do the same – and if they’d like to know more to attend a special event at Livesey Children’s and All Age Centre in Blackburn on June 16, from 12-3pm, as part of Lancashire’s ‘Celebrating Breastfeeding Week’.
With no prior exposure to breastfeeding, Katrina found it harder than she thought at first especially during the first twelve weeks. But with help from the local infant feeding team and the infant feeding groups she attended, Katrina soon gained confidence.
She said: “I don’t think I trusted my body enough at the start but I’m certain the help and guidance I got was the main reason I kept going. But once I realised ‘yes, this is working’, I got more confident about it and once it got easy, it got really easy.”
Research suggests that breastfeeding may provide babies protection against many infections including ear and chest, gastroenteritis, diabetes, obesity, eczema and asthma and may protect mother against breast and ovarian cancer.
For Katrina, such health benefits were another big reason to breastfeed as well. She said: “That was always in my mind. Everything I was told was that it would better for Matilda. She’s also a very confident and independent little girl and I do think that keeping her close and breast feeding her may have helped that as well.”
And now with the benefit of experience, Katrina is certain that for new mums breastfeeding is the best option. She added: “I would say just try it. Do the first feed and go from there. It will come naturally to some mums but if you do have troubles in the start, it’s definitely worth persevering because it does get better. Get the help and guidance that’s available locally too, because that was invaluable for me.”
According to the NHS Information Centre’s Infant Feeding Survey conducted every five years, the amount of babies breastfed at birth in the UK rose by 5%, from 76% to 81% in 2010.
And that rising interest is now being celebrated during Lancashire’s ’Celebrating Breastfeeding Week’ from June 16-22. With events all across East Lancashire, the week aims to celebrate breastfeeding locally, encourage pregnant mums to think about the first feed and encourage breastfeeding mums to give it a go for a couple of weeks.
At the Blackburn event mums can enjoy a promotional discounted healthy lunch, complimentary cake, giveaways and both indoor and outdoor activities. All are welcome including pregnant mums.
Councillor Mohammed Khan, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
“There’s a lot of support out there for mothers in Blackburn with Darwen to help them through the breastfeeding process and the event on the 16th should give those who come down a good flavour of what’s available. It’s great to see we have keen breast feeders in the borough like Katrina who can help drive home the benefits it can provide for both mother and child”.
For more information on the event or for information and support on feeding contact: Donna Butler or Sue Henry on (01254) 732673