A winning poster from a student art exhibition from 2008 called "Get Britain Breastfeeding", held in collaboration with Central Saint Martin's and endorsed by the NHS, recently resurfaced in a South London hospital.

Best Beginning has now tracked the poster down. It has been removed. The poster had been circulating on social media and seemed to have triggered a number of sensitivities. Therefore it is vitally important that we take the opportunity to provide a context and clear understanding of the poster's origins and successful impact at the time.

Best Beginnings recognises and understands the concerns voiced. While an independent evaluation found that it addressed the lack of knowledge and awareness responsible for the very poor breast feeding rates among very young White British mothers at the time, we also appreciate the need to ask for its removal as the poster was not meant for display in hospitals.

In answer to concerns expressed by some that the mother featured in the poster was neither postpartum nor lactating, we can offer the assurance that she was both - a real new mother (not a model) and a lactating mother too.

This reply on a Facebook typifies the types or responses the poster galvanised at the time:

 "For me the message of this poster is "girl, don't worry about breastfeeding destroying your boobs. You can both breastfeed AND keep your nice breasts".

So many girls are like "I won't breastfeed because my boobs will get ugly" and for me this poster says that it's not truth, and you can actually achieve both"

We appreciate the feedback from those who got in touch privately and welcome all discussion and debate about important issues impacting all mothers of all ages and from all backgrounds in different or similar ways.

  

Background about the poster and the art exhibition

The Get Britain Breastfeeding Art Exhibition showcased what can be achieved when people from the arts, advertising and health sectors work with young people. Students from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design were set the challenge to create a poster to rebrand breastfeeding for the parents of tomorrow. Then, through the prestigious D&AD Student Awards, artists worldwide were challenged to create a postcard that captured what a positive choice breastfeeding is. The two competitions resulted in a collection of compelling images that were designed to trigger lots of thought and discussion and to especially engage young people in discussion around breastfeeding. The judge panel for the competitions consisted of 12 judges form Central Saint Martin's. To read the art exhibition guide and about the impact it made 10 years ago, click here.

"Breastfeeding is a highly charged subject that evokes ‘an opinion’ in all of us, young and old, rich and poor, black and white. The journey these students have taken in their artistic creations raises psychosocial, political and cultural issues surrounding breastfeeding. This interactive guide has been designed to engage young people in a ‘big conversation’ around breastfeeding, something to get you talking to your friends and family about, and challenging society about. Midwifery is considered to be an art and a science; this exhibition brings the two together to raise awareness, tackle inequalities and challenge perceptions of breastfeeding in British society today. Special thanks go to the Regional Public Health Group for their support and encouragement and to Best Beginnings for their enthusiasm and motivation. It has been a pleasure working with them all — thank you."

-Francesca Entwistle, Regional Infant Feeding Co-ordinator for DH London and author of the Get Britain Art Exhibition Guide

The exhibition was showcased on locations where it was thought to be easy for people to engage in conversation about breastfeeding in their community, i.e. local shopping centres, further education colleges and events that promoted breastfeeding to the public and influential public service managers/directors.

Best Beginnings values all the feedback. We hope this alleviated some concerns and we welcome you to message us further. We are also looking for mothers to be part of our Parent Panel that sense checks all the resources we produce - videos, text information and campaigns. If you are interested in being part of the panel or would like to know more before committing (it's very commitment light because we spread the load. And input can be given from the comfort of your home) then please email [email protected]