Health & Well-being17th August 2014

LATCH Breastfeeding Event Welcomes Deaf Parents

Local breastfeeding group arrange deaf friendly information event

by Sarah Lawrence

As with a lot of areas concerning health and well-being, information around pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding is hit and miss when it comes to deaf couples and their families. Always on the look out for good deaf friendly practices, I was delighted to learn about a breastfeeding event being held by the Llantrisant Breastfeeding Support Group, in Rhondda Cynon Taff. The event will have BSL interpretation and the deaf aware organisers are keen to attract as many deaf people as possible.

Claire TerryThe event, LATCH 14, is the brainchild of Suki Westcott and Claire Terry, peer supporters on the Support Group. As Claire explained, “I have an interest in how Deaf people manage parenthood, and in the practical things which can make things easier for them. We have gathered together 'a village' for LATCH, local companies, support agencies, the health services, and most importantly, a group of mothers to share and discuss the things that matter to us.”

The Llantrisant Breastfeeding Support Group have done tremendously well to attract some of the national experts to their local event, proving they are, “a small group with big ideas”. Suki and Claire were keen to raise awareness of breastfeeding and felt they was no better way to do that, than arrange an information and exhibition day. The event is being held on Monday 22nd September 2014, 10am – 2.30pm, at Bethel Baptist Church, Pontyclun, CF72 9AJ and all are welcome.

Suzi showing you can breastfeed anywhereIt is hoped the event will raise awareness of breastfeeding and related topics. The key speakers from across the UK, include Gill Rapley, co-author of the book ‘Baby-led weaning’, Dr Amy Brown, senior lecturer who will be talking about her research into breastfeeding and obesity and Tatiana Mela, registered Midwife and lactation consultant, who will be talking about tongue tie in relation to breastfeeding. They hope that people attending the event will leave with an increased knowledge of breastfeeding and the related topics. “We would like to improve the breastfeeding rate in the local area and beyond, and to raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals around access to support for Deaf Mothers,” Suki explained.

The event will provide families with the critical information about breastfeeding, which includes:    

  • Breast milk is the only natural food designed for your baby;
  • Breastfeeding protects your baby from infections and diseases. Breastfed babies have less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result; fewer chest and ear infections and having to go to hospital as a result; and less chance of being constipated.  They also have less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life and less chance of developing eczema;
  • Breastfeeding provides health benefits for mothers - lowers the risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer and naturally uses up to 500 calories a day.  It also saves money – infant formula, the sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be costly.
  • It’s free.
  • It’s available whenever and wherever your baby needs a feed.
  • It’s the right temperature.
  • It can build a strong physical and emotional bond between mother and baby.
  • It can give mums a great sense of achievement.
  • Breastfeeding is good for babies.
    (Taken from

Suki and Claire are fully aware of the varying obstacles and problems all parents have when facing difficulties with breastfeeding. Recognising how difficult it would be to access appropriate support as a Deaf BSL user, they are keen to make the event as accessible as possible with BSL interpreters booked for the day. Commenting on the plans for Deaf access, Suki said, “I have worked closely with the Deaf community in the past and Claire and I were both keen to ensure that we have British Sign Languages interpreters on the day to ensure LATCH 2014 is fully accessible to Deaf people. We welcome anyone to LATCH 2014 who has an interest in breastfeeding or would like to find out more.”

“It is important to us for Deaf parents to be involved in the event so they can gain information about breastfeeding and other related topics. We welcome Deaf Mums, Mums to be or anyone with an interest in breastfeeding. They may not have had the support required to breastfeed successfully with their children. It is important that Health Services are aware of the barriers that Deaf people face when accessing support for breastfeeding and what better way to highlight these barriers than by relaying personal experiences during the LATCH event.”

The organisers hope that knowledge acquired at LATCH 2014 can be shared across the Deaf community.

The event has received some financial support from the Co-Op and there will be lots of information stands, including Water Babies, Fit Mums South Wales, Smallprint, Mrs Bump, Midwives, Health Visitors, National Childbirth Trust and La Leche League, along with peer supporters to offer guidance on breastfeeding and related issues.

Commenting on their organisation of the event, Claire said, "I've been amazed at the enthusiasm when we talk to people about LATCH. We've had support from numerous local companies, Trustmark with the printing, Pontyclun Delicatessen with the catering. It reminds me of the saying that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. Nowadays, a lot of people live a long distance from their families, and unless they can find a community or 'village' to belong to, it is inevitable that struggles with breastfeeding, colic, endless crying, post natal depression etc will seem insurmountable. I was so grateful that I found the support I needed with these issues and many more, and that I knew I was truly not alone in dealing with them.."

Gaynor Evans, Infant Feeding Lead Midwife, Cwm Taf UHB, commented on the event, “The midwives and neonatal nurses who care for local mothers and babies are very enthusiastic about the LATCH 2014 event, and many are looking forward  to attending. Our Health Board Infant Feeding Team will certainly be hosting a stand. I also think that the organisers’ message to any deaf mums or mums-to-be, encouraging them to come along, is a great idea and a very positive move. It is events such as this that will hopefully raise the profile of breastfeeding for more families, and in this way begin to increase breastfeeding rates”.

To book a place at LATCH 2014 or would like to find out more, then please contact Suki or SMS 07967332583. Entry is £4 in advance or £5 on the day. Booking in advance is advised to make sure you don’t miss out and to make sure you have a seat reserved near the BSL/English interpreters during the talks.

Llantrisant Breastfeeding support group meets every Monday 10-12 at Bethel Baptist Church, Pontyclun, CF72 9AJ.  Suki, one of the peer supporters, has Level 3 BSL and BSc Deaf studies and is happy to offer peer support on a 1-1 basis in BSL. Claire, another peer supporter, has BSL level 1. Contact:

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Deaf Lifestyle / Health & Well-being

17th August 2014