The Mouth – Bournemouth – Poole – Christchurch

Put on some make up and be nice to a breastfeeding mother

20140319-105804.jpgThere is a thing on facebook at the moment where you nominate a friend to put up a picture of themselves wearing no make up. It is supposed to raise awareness of breast cancer. Just like  telling people what colour knickers you are wearing, or where your handbag is.

Will this raise awareness? maybe. Raise money for research? perhaps a little.  But there is no point doing research then ignoring what it tells us.

One thing we do know is that: “if all women with children breastfed for a total of 4-12 months, breast cancer among pre-menopausal women could be reduced by 11%. In addition, if women with children breastfed for a lifetime total of 24 months or longer, the incidence of this form of breast cancer might be reduced by almost 25%.”

Reducing pre-menopausal breast cancer by a quarter is a pretty big thing! But if you don’t have a baby, or you are a man, you probably think this is not too useful for you. But before you take that #nomakeupselfie, do have a think about how you might actually be able to make a real difference.

Most women (90% of those who stop in the first 6 weeks) stop breastfeeding before they wanted to because they do not receive accurate information and sufficient support. So if you know someone who needs help, do direct them to one of the Breastfeeding support charities.

Many mothers find the prospect of breastfeeding whilst out and about so embarrassing that they don’t go out much, or even give up. It doesn’t happen often, but a negative comment from a stranger in a cafe, or being asked to move can really knock the confidence of a breastfeeding mother. Be sure to be the person to stand up and defend her if you ever see or hear these sort of comment.

As a baby gets older, breastfeeding becomes more taboo. But it is feeding for longer, for years in fact which gives the greatest protection, as each year breastfeeding has a cumulative effect. So its no good doing a #nomakeupselfie , if you are going to tell your friend that breastfeeding a three-year-old is a bit creepy. Be supportive of those long term breastfeeders and tell them how pleased you are that they are benefitting from protection from breast cancer.

Whether it is your sister, a friend or a stranger the chance to be supportive might not come up often, but you can make a real difference when it does.

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