Sheffield’s 5th annual breastfeeding celebrations will be held at the Winter Gardens on Tuesday 17 June. Two picnic events are to be held as part of Sheffield Breastfeeding Awareness Week; a time to promote breastfeeding with the aim of making it part of our culture in Sheffield.

This year’s celebrations coincide with Sheffield Children’s Festival. The baby friendly picnics welcome all mums, mums to be and their families.

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “I would encourage all new mums and mums-to-be to breast feed if they can. I did it with my children and I found it a hugely rewarding experience. Not only is it great for babies, but it also has health benefits for mums and best of all can help new mums to lose the baby bulge quicker and now you can do it anytime and anywhere in Sheffield.”

Anna Wiggins, 35, from Meersbrook attended the Breastfeeding Awareness picnic in the Winter Gardens in 2013 when Billy-Bob was three months old.

Anna said: “Breastfeeding at the picnic event was the first time I had fed in public. I felt comfortable physically and emotionally. It was empowering being part of such a wonderful event. All the support workers who had assisted me were present at the event, it was a privilege to breastfeed and to be involved in such a special inclusive environment.”

In 2012 Sheffield received the UNICEF Baby Friendly accreditation, both for hospital and community services, showing the successful and dedicated partnership working across the city.

The number of public places and workplaces across the city who have been accredited as being breastfeeding friendly continues to grow. These places offer a good level of facilities and support for breastfeeding mothers and their families, providing a comfortable feeding environment and reassurance that the staff and venue are supportive of their feeding.

Case Study

Anna Wiggins, 35 from Meersbrook in Sheffield

Anna is an Art Technician at Sheffield Hallam University; she became pregnant whilst studying for her Masters degree in Graphic Design. As part of her coursework she focussed on the topic of breastfeeding in Sheffield, creating a visual environment were women could get the support they needed.

Anna had every intention of breastfeeding, but like some women when her son Billy-Bob was born, she really struggled.

She said: “I found breastfeeding very difficult, it was painful and I had no confidence feeding in public. Through my coursework research I found out about the huge level of support available in Sheffield such as the Breastfeeding Peer Support Workers, Sheffield’s dedicated breastfeeding website and Facebook page.

“The 1-2-1 support and advice I received from my Health Visitor and Peer Support Workers was fantastic, I discovered I had an infection which was causing the pain and eventually managed to enjoy breastfeeding after about three months.

Anna attended the Breastfeeding Awareness picnic in the Winter Gardens in 2013 when Billy-Bob was three months old.

“Breastfeeding at the picnic event was the first time I had fed in public. I felt comfortable physically and emotionally. It was empowering being part of such a wonderful event. All the support workers who had assisted me were present at the event, it was a privilege to breastfeed and to be involved in such a special inclusive environment.”

Anna grew close to Nawal El Amrani, Sheffield City Council’s Infant Feeding Coordinator and event organiser and provided her breastfeeding art exhibition for the event, which can be seen again this year at the Picnic event in the Winter Gardens.

Anna graduated when her son was five months old, he is now 13 months old and she still continues to regularly breastfeed.

Anna added: “I want everyone in Sheffield to know that the fantastic network of support is available and for new mums to experience the level of care that I did. I couldn’t have done it without the support I received; I have friends who gave up after a few weeks as they had no support, I’m still proudly breastfeeding!”