We recently interviewed Cherry Healey. This is what she had to say.
- Firstly, a huge congratulations on your second pregnancy! Will you be finding out if it’s a boy or a girl? I am extremely impatient and have found out! It's a boy which is great as I'm looking forward to teaching him how to iron.
- You’re working with Philips AVENT to launch the Breast Place Awards. Tell us a bit about this scheme. This is such an exciting project as it will highlight which companies, cafes and restaurants have the best breast-feeding friendly environments. Hopefully the outcome will be to encourage other, ideally all, other businesses to follow suit. It would be wonderful to see mums being able to go out without worrying about where they were going to feed their baby.
- What is your experience of breastfeeding in public places? Any stories to share with us? Sadly I never made it out of the house! My experience was pretty terrible so I wasn't confident enough to go out into the wide world. But in 2010 I made a documentary about breastfeeding where I spoke to a young mum called Emma, whose story is a common one, who had braved feeding in public and, after a dozen furrowed brows, had retreated back inside. Like many new mums, she didn't feel confident enough to speak out and that's why these awards are so important.
- How long did you breastfeed Coco for? Do you plan to breastfeed baby number two for the same amount of time? I breastfed (or attempted to!) for three weeks before getting mastitis – which is a boob infection! I was trying to be 'brave' and didn't tell anyone how bad it was, and ended up in hospital for five days on a drip! That was pretty silly. I was then terrified to let my baby feed again so I expressed for three months. For some women, expressing can be a pain, but for me, it was a godsend. And yes, I am determined to try again, armed with better information and the number of an excellent breastfeeding counsellor (I didn't even know they existed ) but if I can't do it, I won't beat myself up at all. I can only try my best.
- What do you think needs to be done to prevent negative reactions to breastfeeding in public? I think it is partly the responsibility of businesses and partly the responsibility of mums. The more places that actively welcome breastfeeding mums, the more happy we will feel about doing it in public. And the more it is an everyday sight, the less people will even give it a seconds thought. I also think that actually 'seeing' it is the key for mum's being able to do it more easily. When I tried to breastfeed I had never, not even once, seen a baby being breastfed. It was either hidden from sight entirely or hidden under a cloth – so it was like getting into a car and being asked to drive having never seen a car in action! Not an easy task!
- Philips AVENT recently found that 71 per cent of pregnant mums feel pressure to look good pregnant, due in part to pregnant celebrities in the news. Do you fall into this category? Yes absolutely 100%. I know it's not cool to admit that! But it's not because of celebrities in the news, it's because I adore fashion and style and don't feel that being pregnant should change that. It is certainly a massive challenge – there is definitely a gap in the market for stylish, edgy maternity clothes. But of course, there are days (like today!) when I am just pottering about in spandex leggings and a baggy jumper – bliss. In terms of weight and body, I think the better you look after yourself, the more you'll enjoy your pregnancy – it gets flipping heavy at the end and having a strong back is vital. Of course it's all about moderation and knowing yourself – if you don't care then brill, but if you do mind (and I do) about your body then there no benefit to you or your baby of eating donuts for nine months (oh how I wish this were the case!). One of the biggest lies (and this is painful to write!) is that you can eat for two. You can, of course, but you will just have to lose it all after the birth anyway – sadly there is no magical pregnancy fairy who just whisks it off! You are eating for two in terms of responsibility – so less salt, more greens, lots of water and general, healthy goodness – but in reality you don't need a huge amount more calories. This made me weep when I realised this! For me, the golden rules are little and often, and also being healthy 80% and indulging in dirty goodness (burgers and chips!) 20% of the time.
- Thanks for your time. Where can we find out more information about the Breast Place Awards? You can find out more and nominate now via the Philips AVENT Due Date Club website: http://www.duedateclub.co.uk/news_views/breast_place_awards. Entries close on July 15th and the winners will be announced at the end of July.
Campaign information: Cherry Healey is working with Philips AVENT to launch the Philips AVENT Breast Place Awards, celebrating the people and places that make it easier for mums to breastfeed and express milk. To register your vote visit: http://www.duedateclub.co.uk/news_views/breast_place_awards