AMANDA FERGUSON in Belfast
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Breastival the festival has moved online.
Now in its fourth year, the event to “normalise, celebrate and support the wonder that is breastfeeding” will be live in your homes from August 1st-7th, in response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Breastival was inspired by comments made by DUP veteran politician Sammy Wilson that breastfeeding is something that should be done in private.
Interest in the festival - which is usually hosted in Belfast's Ulster Museum - has grown over the years, with online registration strong in 2020.
The Big Virtual Latch on August 1st is among the events on this year's packed programme women are encouraged to sign up for.
Lunchtime and evening talks on a range of issues, including breastfeeding basics, how to overcome breastfeeding challenges, perinatal mental health, breastfeeding at work, and how partners can support the breastfeeding journey will be delivered by a line up of experts such as Professor Amy Brown, Dr Cecilia Tomari, Dr Aunchalee Palmquist and Dr EA Quinn.
There will plenty of craic too with a Drag Queen bedtime story, and there is also a comedy night to give you some laughs.
See more here: Breastival 2020 Programme
Breastival spokeswoman Jennifer Hanratty said: “This year moving online we have embraced the opportunity to put together an amazing line up of speakers, support, and fun.
“As we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions we are still very aware that many new parents have been isolated and missed out on seeing family and meeting other new parents in those challenging early weeks and months of learning to be a parent.
“Breastival is needed now more than ever to connect families with the support they need, and with each other.
“We want as many people to join us as possible. We’re usually sold out at this stage so it’s great to be able to send the message out that no one will be turned away”.
Organisers are keen to highlight that Northern Ireland needs legislation to “protect and promote breastfeeding”.
Check out the Breastival Website, enjoy the festival, and use the hashtags #breastival #breastfeeding and #worldbreastfeedingweek on social media to connect with others.
Some further reading….
Here is some information published by The Institute of Public Health in Ireland: Breastfeeding on the island of Ireland’
Public Health Agency NI – I’m a breastfeeding mum – what does coronavirus mean for me?: PHA advice
You can read some of my breastfeeding coverage from previous years here:
The Irish News, 2016: DUP distances itself from Sammy Wilson breastfeeding comments
The Irish Times, 2018: Hundreds latch on at Belfast breastfeeding festival
The Irish Times, 2019: More than 200 mothers breastfeed children for Belfast’s Breastival
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