02 Jul

What Breastfeeding Looks Like: Diverse, Inclusive, Supportive

Images courtesy of @decuirinducinglactationstory, Gosia, @adaptiveparentproject, Kimberly, @nina_tame, @hamofcydonia

Do you see people who look like you on our website or in our social media posts?

As a charity, we are constantly striving to be as inclusive and diverse as possible in our content, as part of our commitment to offer support to all families, regardless of their age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. But we are painfully aware of how homogenous images of breastfeeding can be. In the top 20 results of a Google image search for “breastfeeding”, there was just one image that did not appear to depict a White family; just one that showed a same-sex couple; none at all that appeared to show families with a disability (though of course we appreciate that characteristics such as disability, gender and sexuality are not always visible).

We want to change this. We want to support every family, and we know that we are much more likely to achieve this if we reflect as many of you as possible in the imagery we use. So as part of our ongoing work to make our charity more diverse, we’re appealing to all of our followers to help us build a bank of authentic and truly inclusive breastfeeding images for use in our communications.

We want to see what breastfeeding looks like for you, in your everyday life, so we can better reflect the wonderful diversity that we know exists among breastfeeding families.

We would welcome a variety of image styles – for example:

  • While it would be lovely to see your face, if you’d rather remain anonymous and be cropped out, that’s fine too.
  • There’s no need to show a bare breast or nipple if you don’t want to, in fact it can be great to show how discreet breastfeeding can be!
  • We’re not looking for clinical “textbook” images, in fact quite the opposite. So don’t worry about turning your photo into a demonstration, we’d much rather see the human, everyday side of breastfeeding.
  • Your photo does not need to be perfectly styled or staged – it would be great to see real life, so if there are toys strewn around or washing drying in the background, so be it.
  • It can be helpful to show that breastfeeding doesn’t always have to take place in a comfy chair – so photos of breastfeeding out and about or in interesting or unusual locations would also be great!

We would particularly welcome images of:

  • Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic or interracial families
  • Breastfeeding with a disability (whether this is a parent or child)
  • Parents in same-sex relationships
  • Trans parents
  • Younger parents
  • Breastfeeding older children, or tandem feeding
  • Breastfeeding alongside those people who have supported you to breastfeed – for example your partner, a grandparent, a friend, or a peer supporter.

How to contribute

If you’d like to contribute, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Complete the image consent form here.
  2. Email your photo as an attachment to wbfll@breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk. You’ll also receive an automated email to remind you, if it’s easier just to reply to that. Please do not send your images without completing the consent form first.
Win a BfN Coffee Cup!

You’ll also have the chance to enter our prize draw to win one of five lovely BfN coffee cups – full competition rules available below. If you’d like to enter, just tick the box when you fill in the consent form. The winner will be announced at the end of the appeal.

Once collected, we will share all of the images in an album on our Facebook page, and then they will be featured on an ongoing basis in our social media posts, on our website and in some printed communications. More details on how photos may be used can be found on the consent form linked above.

If you have any questions about the project, please email wbfll@breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk.

We’d also be grateful if you’d share this appeal with any other breastfeeding families you know. Thank you!

#WhatBreastfeedingLooksLike

Prize Draw Rules

  1. No purchase necessary. Any purchases made do not increase your chance of winning.
  2. Completing the consent form stating that you’d like to enter the draw, then emailing your photo, is the only way to enter. Likes or shares on social media posts relating to this competition are not a condition of entry.
  3. Competition opens on 02/07/2021 and closes at midnight on 31/08/2021. Entries received after this time will not be entered into the competition.
  4. The winner will be chosen at random after the closing date.
  5. This competition is being run exclusively by the Breastfeeding Network (BfN), and is not endorsed, sponsored or administered by Facebook, nor is Facebook associated with this competition.
  6. Five winners will each receive one BfN-branded reusable coffee cup. There is no alternative prize.
  7. The Breastfeeding Network (BfN) reserves the right to publish your image(s) as part of our online or social media promotion of this competition or others in future, or for other marketing purposes as stated on the image consent form.
  8. This competition is void where prohibited.
  9. The Breastfeeding Network (BfN) is committed to protecting any personal information that we collect.  Your personal information will be collected for the purpose of this competition only. You can read our Privacy Notice here. 
01 Jul

Inclusion & Diversity Survey – a message from Shereen

I want to share with you some new information and ask for for the support of our staff and volunteers in completing a new survey.

First, many of you will be aware of the work BfN is doing to be more inclusive and support diversity with the goal that we would want to be able to genuinely support anyone who needed the charity’s help.

While our focus has been on race prompted by the Black Lives Matter Movement, we have also given attention to disability and cultural/religious issues and our work in these areas will continue.  We are also very much aware of the need to give care, consideration and respect to parents who need our support but who do not identify with the traditional gender categories.

Most recently this has prompted early conversations around choice in use of pronouns and also enquiry into our understanding of how our training and support translates to people who chest feed.  What has been stand out from those conversations, is people’s willingness to want to be able to support anyone who needs our help but perhaps there being some hesitancy or worry as to how to do this without causing offence.

To help here the BfN team have compiled some information including links that you may find useful to help build your knowledge.  We will also be considering training for key members of the team and staff in BfN and of course we will develop this information. Here is the link: https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/genderdiversity/  

Second, as a peer support charity our aim is to be as representative of the mothers, parents and families we support across our board, workforce and volunteers.

However, at present we have no comprehensive way of knowing how diverse or inclusive we are as a charity in respect of our workforce and volunteers so we would like to undertake an annual survey of our staff and volunteers to understand this better.

By knowing this we can see where the gaps are and look to address them.

The survey is voluntary and confidential and will proactively seek consent as we understand the data we are asking is both sensitive and personal.

We urge as many staff and volunteers as possible to complete the survey by 31st July 2021 to help us understand your needs better and take action to make reasonable adjustments that address the visible and invisible barriers people face.

Only with this information can we be truly proactive to make sure people of different backgrounds, experiences and identities feel welcomed, respected and fully able to participate.

If you are a BfN volunteer or member of staff and have not received an email inviting you to complete the survey, please email centralsupport@breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk to receive a copy.

With thanks for your support for BfN.

Best Wishes,

Shereen
Chief Executive Officer
The Breastfeeding Network