Why mums gathered to breastfeed their babies in Sunderland

The Big Latch On breast feeding event at Keel Square.
From left Louise Farthing, Public Health Gillian Gibson, peer support worker Amanda Dunbar and midwife Gillian Lund
The Big Latch On breast feeding event at Keel Square. From left Louise Farthing, Public Health Gillian Gibson, peer support worker Amanda Dunbar and midwife Gillian Lund
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Wearside mums showed how they have given their tots the breast chance to a strong start in life.

Dozens of women from across the region gathered in Sunderland to help celebrate World Breastfeeding Week with a co-ordinated effort to feed their babies in Keel Square.

The Big Latch On breast feeding event at Keel Square.
Coun John Kelly

The Big Latch On breast feeding event at Keel Square. Coun John Kelly

The event, led by Wearside’s Bosom Buddies, saw the mothers take part in the World’s Big Latch On, which aims to support the international event by getting them to feed at the same time across the world.

Among those to take part were Washington Police Community Support Officer Susan Peverall, from Red House, who is married to Matt, also 34, who is a works manager for Lumsden and Carroll.

They are parents to Jessica, one.

Susan said: “My sister-in-law breast fed her baby and talked to me about it and I was determined to do it with Jessica.

I’ve also made friends for life with the other mums I’ve met.

Mum Susan Perverall

“That was simply because it was easy, no fuss, you get your boob out and off she goes.

“It’s also a comfort thing and there are health benefits for babies and for women, it can help reduce the risk of breast cancer.

“I’ve also made friends for life with the other mums I’ve met.

“It’s been great being part of a group and I’ve trained to become a peer supporter as well.”

The Big Latch On breast feeding event at Keel Square.

The Big Latch On breast feeding event at Keel Square.

Susan and friend Lisa Cherverton have only come across one instance of prejudice when feeding their babies in public, when a man tutted at them in an Italian restaurant.

The bosses of the venue gave the customer his cash back and asked him to leave.

EDF worker Lisa, 32, who is married to Darren, 33, a landscape gardener, are parents to 10-month-old Mily.

Lisa said: “I wanted to give her the best start.

The Big Latch On breast feeding event at Keel Square.

The Big Latch On breast feeding event at Keel Square.

“It’s convenient, it doesn’t cost anything and she gets all the nutrition and vitamins she needs.”

There was an official welcome at the event from Sunderland City Council cabinet member for public health, wellness and culture, Councillor John Kelly, cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Louise Farthing, and director of public health, Gillian Gibson.

Coun Kelly said: “It was great to see many families and friends come along to support this event, and help raise awareness of the many benefits breastfeeding can bring to both mother and baby.

“Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world and proven not only to reduce the risk of illnesses including many cancers, but also to increase the bonding process.

“We’re working hard with our community health partners to encourage and support more mothers to begin breastfeeding, and I hope today’s event will persuade even more to try.”

Last year 14,889 mothers and their babies ‘latched on’ at 10.30am in 28 countries across the globe to break the world record for mass participation breast feeding.