Breastfeeding festival to be held in Derry next month

Breastival, a festival which celebrates and normalises breastfeeding will return for it’s sixth year on August 1-7.

The festival will host a series of events providing support and information to breastfeeding parents and their families across the north. The week-long festival coincides with World Breastfeeding Week and includes talks, workshops and fun activities for families to get involved in, both in-person and online.

Breastival Coordinator Catherine Muldoon said: “Participating families have said that Breastival is the first place where they have felt fully acknowledged, welcomed and able to interact with other breastfeeding families in a really positive space. Oftentimes, families meet other breastfeeding families because they are facing issues and seeking help but, at Breastival, you can be in a positive space with the support that should be in place. We see a lot of people from rural areas who are breastfeeding for the first time and have never been in a place where breastfeeding has been so well represented.

“The research suggests that eight out of ten mothers stop breastfeeding before they want to and that’s a massive number. It often comes down to a lack of support. It’s not that the support isn’t out there, it’s the lack of awareness of where that support is and how to signpost people to it. We want to highlight support that is available and offer the opportunity for people to learn more about the value of breastfeeding, whether that be environmental, nutritional, survival, economical. We’re open to everybody, not just breastfeeding mothers.

“We’re really excited that we’re back to hosting in-person events in St Columb’s Park Walled Garden on August 6. We’ve got exhibitors from the amazing support organisations that are available across the region. We’re so excited to have baby massage sessions, baby yoga and The Singing Mamas are coming along to entertain everybody. We also have the amazing Big Latch On, which is our opportunity to bring everybody together, not just breastfeeding families, but people who support them to come along and be counted at showing that breastfeeding is really important. We’re doing that across Derry and Belfast and Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Sandra Duffy will be at the launch in St Columb’s Park. We’re really looking forward to that. We’re hoping to get the biggest count we’ve ever had to date of people coming together to normalise breastfeeding and to recognise it’s importance here in the north.”

Breastival will be taking place on August 1-7. More information on the festival can be found at www.breastival.co.uk.

Catherine Muldoon, Breastival Coordinator.