Here at the #Bshirt we fully support the #BeBoldForChange International Women’s Day campaign which looks to create a more gender inclusive world, through celebration and bold action. The Bshirt is a women owned business and our primary goal is to help women breastfeed more confidently, more comfortably and for longer. Our bold action is the launch of our Donate One Campaign - to allow members of the public to have a direct impact on a mother’s chances of breastfeeding for longer.
The UK has the Lowest Breastfeeding Rates in the World
Breastfeeding helps women fulfil their role as mothers by promoting maternal attachment. There are also many proven health benefits to breastfeeding to both mothers and children. Breastfeeding can help to prevent breast and ovarian cancer and heart disease in mothers. Over 3,000 UK women die of cancer and heart disease every month. Breastfeeding can also can help to prevent allergies, obesity and diabetes in children. But despite these benefits, the UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world and it’s our mission to improve this.
We believe that one of the reasons for such low breastfeeding rates here in the UK is that our cultural norms discourage breastfeeding. The law supports breastfeeding in public, but the Infant Feeding Survey carried out by the NHS in 2010 found that 45% of mothers who breastfed reported that they felt uncomfortable breastfeeding their baby in front of other people. We believe that if more women could breastfeed confidently in public we could change hearts and minds and help improve breastfeeding rates for the next generation. Improving breastfeeding rates could save thousands of lives.
Our Donate One Campaign
We are launching our Donate One Campaign today where members of the public can purchase a Bshirt nursing vest to be donated via Action for Children to mothers struggling to breastfeed in public. A gift certificate will be sent to the South Hams Children's Centre, run by Action for Children, to be distributed by their trained staff. Priority will be given to those statistically less likely to breastfeed and those struggling with breastfeeding in public. The new mum can then go online, choose her Bshirt, enter the voucher code and receive her donated breastfeeding top.
New mothers and breastfeeding women from all over the South Hams access the resources and support available at this centre. In this way, a new mum - who may be on the verge of giving up breastfeeding - will feel acknowledged and appreciated for her part in making our society a healthier one for the future. If a total stranger can care enough about a new mum’s breastfeeding journey to support her in this way, that is a powerful message to send to women.
We will ask her to participate in a survey so that we can monitor the impact the Bshirt has on her breastfeeding journey and collate our findings into an impact report for the campaign.
Lisa Lessware, co-founder of the Bshirt, says: “We feel it is essential to support mothers breastfeeding from the very start. It’s not just about the individual woman - it’s not just her responsibility. It’s up to all of us. We know the UK has some of the lowest rates in the world and that is why we developed the Bshirt.”
The Bshirt is not your typical breastfeeding top - it's a vest designed to be worn under a mother's normal clothes. That means she hasn't got to buy any other breastfeeding clothes! It also keeps boobs and belly covered so she won't feel on display. The NHS and UNICEF both recognise embarrassment at feeding in public as a major barrier to breastfeeding.
Philippa Doyle, co-founder of the Bshirt, says “In our survey, 83% of women felt more confident breastfeeding in front of others while wearing their Bshirts. We are very excited about the impact we can have by empowering women to breastfeed more comfortably, more confidently and ultimately for longer. That's why we are so excited about our product - we believe we can make a real impact on breastfeeding rates!”
Our Business Values
At the Bshirt, one of our key values is empowering women and this is reflected in the way we run our business. Trying to find a way to work in a conventional workplace without sacrificing your duties as a mother or as an employee is a difficult challenge in modern society. As mums ourselves, we support flexible working for the primary carers of children. We want to implement a model of working that provides a good income and that fits in with family life and with our important role as mothers.
The Bshirt has employed the services of many wonderful women including the photographer, stylist and models for our product photoshoot, the seamstresses for our prototype samples and our female business mentors. The ethical and Fairtrade factory that manufactures the Bshirt has a strict non discriminatory policy to ensure that women receive equal treatment and pay.
You can Donate One here.Your support will help us bring positive change to breastfeeding rates by empowering more women to breastfeed with confidence. If you become involved, you will receive regular reports and updates on the impact of our campaign.