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It's Tea For Two with Vicki and Lily

By 19th June 2015

Breastfeeding in public has had so much attention recently, with the Free The Nipple campaign causing almost as much fuss as Kim K’s bottom!  It is a strange one when you think about it; one of the most natural connections a mother can have with her baby is somehow a topic worthy of the question “Should it be allowed in public?”.   Regardless of which path you've taken as a mother, breast or bottle, I'm sure we're all in agreement that feeding your baby shouldn't be a matter that is up for debate.  

So, when Vicki Leaver contacted us to ask if we’d help her promote her week long "Tea For Two" Event to celebrate National Breastfeeding Week we said yes straight away! Running from 20th to 26th June, National Breastfeeding Week has been run annually since 1993 by the Department of Health as a key event for promoting breastfeeding. The main aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding, increase social acceptance of breastfeeding, and promote support for breastfeeding.

It feels somehow redundant to chat about the benefits of breastfeeding; we all know that breast is best; its natural, it helps prevent baby from infection and of course, it's free! The NHS website gives great advice and tips for new mums and you'll find details of why you should, what to do and how to keep going

Research has shown that breastfeeding support is vitally important and that the vast majority of UK mothers cite the lack of knowledgable support as a reason for stopping. 

Vicki is currently a full-time Mum to her 13 year old son and 14 month old baby girl, Lily, and recently trained and qualified as a Breast Feeding Support Worker Volunteer. This sees her running three groups a week in and around Perth, a role that she loves!

“I am so passionate about Breast Feeding and when the opportunity came along for me to get involved more I jumped at it. My son is older now but he breastfed for six months as a baby. Lily is still feeding at 14 months, largely due to a dairy intolerance,and for us, it’s a safe, comfortable and easy option!”

With National Breast Feeding Week coming up, Vicki decided she’d like to use the focus to help mums who are breastfeeding feel more comfortable about feeding when they're out and about. I have to say, as a twenty one year old mum who was breastfeeding back in 1993, I would have applauded this campaign all day long.  I felt so uneasy whipping out my boob when I was sitting in a cafe and I was never sure if the stares were ones of pity (I looked SO young!) or disgust (Perth was a very conservative town!).  So I avoided it. I avoided going out when I knew he'd need fed and started to revolve days around a hungry baby's feeds. Not ideal!

Now, I do think that many of the social issues surrounding feeding in public have become easier over the past twenty years and its not quite as alien to see a woman feeding her baby in a cafe or restaurant. However, there remains a barrier that just isn't there for bottle-feeding mummies becasue regardless of how WE all look at it, your boob is out and some less enlightened people are going to view this as the most important part of the discussion. 

So Vicki decided to embrace the social aspects of the week and called upon the cafes and restaurants of Perth to get behind her perfectly named 'Tea For Two' campaign and show their support for breastfeeding in public.  As well as knowing that you can visit these venues and comfortably feed your baby without frowns or stares, you’ll also be given a free cup of tea or coffee between 20th and 26th June!   

“It was really important to me to get a mixture of venues on board and so I approached wee cafes, fancy restaurants and our local sports provider, Live Active Leisure. For me, it’s important to have places and venues that people can connect with.  I may not hit the gym quite as often as I once did but with a teenager and a baby, I'm never out of the cafe in my local swimming pool!

The family environment was also important to me; a social area that attracts a huge variety of people can be one of the biggest challenges for new mums so it’s great that we have some bustling cafes on board.” 

Thanks to Vicki, Perth is leading the way with their Tea For Two campaign.  It is a fantastic, positive celebration of breastfeeding and a way to say, “Come in, don’t worry, feed your baby!” to mums who may feel unsure about breastfeeding in public. Since she launched, she has been contacted by the NHS Breastfeeding groups in other areas looking to replicate what she's achieved.  

“I spent so much time sitting in toilets feeding when my son was a baby.  Now, a little older, a little wiser and with times moving forward I feel more comfortable feeding Lily in public. However, I know how daunting it can be for a first time Mum and I hope this helps remove the “Is it okay if I breastfeed?” hurdle.”  

If you'd like to find out more about Breast Feeding Support in your area then call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212 or visit the NHS website.

And from me, a woman who has been there and done it, and Lou, a woman who is currently doing it, we'd like to say a huge 'Good On You' to Vicki. Whether you choose breast or bottle, being a mum can be hard work and the last thing any of us needs is stares or tuts when we're helping our little one feed.  Raising awareness and breaking down the last of these old barriers is a big step forward. And a free cuppa never goes amiss!

Happy Breast Feeding,

Nic & Lou X

PS We found this great video that gives some fabulous tips!

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