On 5th August The Mac in Belfast plays host to Northern Ireland’s largest gathering of breastfeeding mothers.
Breastival is a celebration of breastfeeding, aiming to normalise what has often been a controversial issue in Northern Ireland. Despite the NHS and World Health Organisation recommendation that children be breastfed until the age of two, only 7% of children in Northern Ireland are breastfed past the age of six months.
Founder of Breastival, Belfast based mum Jennifer Hanratty, says “breast is not best, it’s biologically normal and it needs to become socially and culturally normal again and just because breastfeeding is natural doesn’t mean it is easy. Mum and baby need to learn together and family and wider society need to support and protect them. Breastival will be an opportunity for everyone to learn and celebrate the amazing experience breastfeeding can be when it is well supported.” Breastival welcomes all supporters of breastfeeding and those who want to learn more about it.
Featuring renowned pharmacist Dr Wendy Jones alongside local experts, Breastival also aims to break the Northern Irish record for ‘The Global Big Latch On’ where women around the world gather together to breastfeed at 10.30am. We are excited to have Nuala McAllister, Lord Mayor of Belfast acting as the official counter for our record attempt.
Cllr Nuala McAllister, Lord Mayor of Belfast has been an active supporter of breastfeeding and has highlighted the positive steps Belfast City Council has made in supporting breastfeeding mothers. She explains “as a mother who breastfed, Breastival has my full support. Belfast City Council has always been extremely supportive of mothers who choose to breastfeed. In 2014, we signed up for the Public Health Agency’s ‘Breastfeeding Welcome Here’ scheme, which aims to increase the number of premises which welcome breastfeeding mums. Thirty-six of our buildings, including the City Hall, are signed up to the initiative, helping mums to feel more comfortable doing something in public which should actually be seen as perfectly normal. Events such as Breastival can only serve to show that breastfeeding is becoming increasingly socially acceptable in our modern society, as well highlighting the health benefits that breastfeeding can bring to both mother and baby.”
Breastival has over 500 people registered to attend including nursing mothers, expectant parents, kids, friends and family. Discussions, interactive workshops and demonstrations are being led by industry experts including Pharmacist Dr Wendy Jones, Parenting NI, Bravissimo and breast surgeon Ciara McGoldrick.
An exhibition of ‘More Than Milk’ features contributions from over 100 local parents showcasing the realities of breastfeeding as part of everyday life.
Breastival is a free to attend event and open to everyone but pre-registration is required at www.breastivalbelfast.co.uk
For media enquires contact;
Hello@breastivalbelfast.co.uk or call Jennifer Hanratty 07872012406