National Breastfeeding Awareness Week takes place every year in
The week is co-ordinated by the Department of Health, but all
organisations which encourage or advise on breastfeeding get involved in
promoting their own activities in affiliation with the week.
The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) is one of the country’s biggest
charities promoting breastfeeding and it participates in the awareness
week every year. Janice Muir Associates worked with the charity on its
’You Can Do It Here’ campaign, helping to take its message to companies
and local authorities.
To generate local interest in the NCT’s breastfeeding initiative and
ensure that NCT received a high level of coverage during the National
Breastfeeding Awareness Week.
The National Childbirth Trust recently launched a publication called You
Can Do It Here - a guide to breastfeeding-friendly locations. This guide
is a part of the You Can Do It Here initiative which aims to encourage
more places to support breastfeeding women so they can feed their babies
in public without fear or prejudice.
To kick off the campaign, the Breastfeeding Friendly Awards were
launched at the London Aquarium, an event which was attended by
politicians, mothers and members of the press.
With the charity’s specific ’friendly location’ message, Janice Muir
Associates decided to concentrate on the local and regional media,
partly because the DoH planned to target the nationals and women’s
magazines, but also to reach local authorities and businesses.
Local branches of the NCT were provided with a campaign pack including a
draft press release, advice on organising a photocall, TV and radio
interviews and a supply of Breastfeeding Friendly 1998 stickers. They
were also supplied with a suggested letter to send to local
Some branches of the NCT have their own press officers who liaised with
the team at the Janice Muir Partnership. Other branches came back for
more information, or submitted drafts of press releases for
A national press release was also sent out, which smaller branches
capitalised on by following the advice in the campaign pack.
The regional and local papers covered this story in depth, and the
advice about arranging photocalls paid off, with most stories
accompanied by pictures of local mothers who support the call for more
Coverage proved positive and supportive of the demands, and some local
papers weren’t shy about criticising the lack of council support for the
The local and regional coverage lead to many national media picking up
on the You Can Do It Here campaign, and it ended up generating coverage
in the Express, Pride magazine, the Caribbean Times and the Jewish
Since the launch there has been an increase in the number of companies
and local authorities signing up for the Breastfeeding Friendly
campaign, including high-profile companies such as Virgin Atlantic and
For a campaign that was started at a grassroots level, the impact has
been far ranging. The campaign successfully motivated the local branches
of the NCT which then did a good job of selling it on to local
Breastfeeding in public is still a contentious issue, but campaigns such
as this will go a long way in breaking down prejudice.
Client: National Childbirth Trust
PR Team: Janice Muir Associates
Campaign: You Can Do It Here
Timescale: March to May 1998
Budget: pounds 5,000