Marking World Breastfeeding Week

Press Copy: Release date 01 August 2022

Lead artist Lisa Creagh with mothers from Cheshire and Merseyside and Improving Me NHS Cheshire and Merseyside

The Holding Time Project daily video release:

Visual artist Lisa Creagh is pleased to present The Holding Time Project Cheshire and Merseyside; a co-created, multi-site art installation which is being rolled out through a digital teaser during World Breastfeeding Week 01-07 August 2022 as the NHS highlight the countdown to the Holding Time exhibition launch next month.

From Monday 01 August Holding Time will release a series of seminal digital portraits and interviews with women about their breastfeeding journeys during lockdown. This  socially engaged feminist art piece will create a contemporary portrait of breastfeeding today in all its glory. Funded by Improving Me, the NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s Women Health and Maternity Partnership, The Holding Time Project aims to address and overturn breastfeeding preconceptions and myths, and challenge stereotypes; but above all else, improve breastfeeding rates, in the region by harnessing women’s breastfeeding knowledge and wisdom. This project harnesses expertise from both professionals and mums. It is founded upon the value of lived experience.

Holding Time invited Cheshire and Merseyside mothers during COVID to share their experiences throughout lockdowns in video interviews and blogs. Women were also invited to participate in writing workshops and a photo shoot. Across audio, video, animation and stills, the mothers discuss breastfeeding in all its complexity, highlighting challenges as well as  answering many questions about why many women who want to breastfeed, stop before they are ready.

Improving Me NHS Cheshire and Merseyside said, ‘We have some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, with eight out of ten women stopping breastfeeding before they want to. Improving breastfeeding rates.  would have an extremely positive impact on child health as well as maternal wellbeing.

Breastfeeding protects babies and children from a vast range of illnesses, including infection, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and obesity, as well as cot death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It also protects mothers from breast and ovarian cancers and heart disease; as well as having a profoundly positive impact on perinatal mental health. It’s basically a huge public health issue and we will continue to focus attention on the value of breastfeeding working with our mums. This commitment is supported by a Cheshire and Merseyside wide focus on addressing health inequalities and the value of a best start for every child.’

UNICEF add ‘Breastfeeding is a natural ‘safety net’ against the worst effects of poverty … Exclusive breastfeeding goes a long way toward cancelling out the health difference between being born into poverty and being born into affluence … It is almost as if breastfeeding takes the infant out of poverty for those first few months in order to give the child a fairer start in life and compensate for the injustice of the world into which it was born.’

James P. Grant, Executive Director of UNICEF (1980-1995)

Lisa Creagh says,

“Breastfeeding isn’t just invisible in culture, on TV, in the media, it’s invisible in our lives, our photo streams, our messages. It’s a maternal experience that is widely misunderstood, ignored and sidelined, despite occupying many countless hours, of the mothers who practice it.

These women are at the heart of The Holding Time Project. Their voices and the validity of their experience is the central structure of the project. Their ideas about what needs to change, what should happen and doesn’t, how things could be different and better are the driving force behind the project.”

Holding Time is all about bringing breastfeeding into view and women ‘being seen and heard’ something which is well overdue.

Marking World Breastfeeding Week 01-07 August 2022


Improving Me -Women’s health and Maternity (WHaM)programme -NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Health Care Partnership 

Improving Me is a partnership of 27 NHS organisations across Cheshire and Merseyside aiming to improve women’s health and maternity experiences. The associated Women’s Health and Maternity (WHaM) programme is focused on developing a safe, high quality, clinically and financially sustainable whole system model of care for women’s services across Cheshire and Merseyside. WHaM has commissioned the Write On programme in response to feedback from service users and a national evidence base on the value of wiring interventions to boost wellbeing.

Get in touch

Contact Lisa Creagh

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Social media tags: #normalisebreastfeeding #holdingtime #WBW2022


Claire D  – 1st August

Claire talks about her different experiences of establishing breastfeeding with her two children and of local support in Sefton, Merseyside Breastfeeding groups

“I breastfed her in secret. At home, at my mum’s, sneakily in the car. And then I attended our breastfeeding group, I remember sitting there looking around at all these women with their boobs out and being like, ‘It’s alright, we all look the same, really. No one’s that bothered’. And it was fine. And everyone had a cup of tea and a biscuit at the same time. And I was like, ‘These are my people. They’re not bothered. I’ve got my boobs out feeding my baby. And they’re giving me cups of tea and biscuit.’”

 “My job is stressful. Some people go home and have a glass of wine to relax or some chocolate. But I come home and have a snuggle and feed her and that’s me unwinding. That’s my safe place, how I relax: when I come home and have my snuggles. It’s almost like she’s back like attached to me again. So, you have nine months of growing them. You can’t share them when you’re pregnant, they are just yours. And then they come into this world and you have to share them with people and hand them round for cuddles and everybody wants a nose and a look. But when you’re feeding, she’s mine again. We’re attached again, we’re one again. It’s lovely.”

“When you’re pregnant, they’re just yours. Then they come into this world & you have to share them, hand them round for cuddles & everybody wants a look. But when you’re feeding, she’s mine again. We’re attached again, we’re one. It’s lovely”

Clare G – 2nd August #babyreflux

Claire G talks about breastfeeding as a learnt skill and the confidence that comes with experience, recalling breastfeeding her twins and, previously, their elder sibling who had silent reflux.

“People underestimate how much breastfeeding is actually a learned skill. We’re sold an idea that it’s this beautiful, natural, instinctive thing. It isn’t. It’s a skill for you to learn & for a brand new baby to learn as well”

“I quite like people to see breastfeeding in public. I feel like it’s all part of normalising it. I was never that fussed about feeding in public, because my child’s needs came first”

“Silent reflux is where they’re not sick, it rises & doesn’t come out. So, they have a chronic sore throat.

They’re just very sad babies. She would feed a lot. In hindsight, it was soothing that sore throat feeling”

#WBW2022 #holdingtime

Natalie B – 3rd August

Natalie talks about her experiences of feeding a baby with cow’s milk protein allergy and tongue tie.


“I knew I wanted to feed her. But having a child with a milk allergy and breastfeeding is really, really difficult. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life”

Tongue-tie / BFing support: 

“I was lucky because I was able to find good support in the community & was able to learn how to use a deeper latch & how to latch her without it being too painful, until I was able to get the tongue tie snipped.”

#WBW2022 #cmpa #dairyfree #holdingtime

Kelly4th August – 

Kelly on breastfeeding support and dealing with tongue tie after her baby was born at Liverpool Mother and Baby Unit.

“Because he had jaundice, they referred him really quickly. He had it snipped at day five, it was fantastic. I couldn’t sing the praises well enough of the midwives, postnatally and the breastfeeding families and the tongue-tie service. I couldn’t believe how quickly it got sorted. And it made such a difference straightaway as well.

I think that the support’s not there for women.  But I don’t mean like the support services. I mean your family and society understanding how demanding breastfeeding is.”

“I couldn’t sing the praises well enough of the midwives, postnatally and the breastfeeding families and the tongue-tie service. He had it snipped at day 5 & it made such a difference straightaway.”

#tonguetie @Improvingme1 @BambisLiverpool @LiverpoolMVP

Holly B – 5th August 

Holly reflects on her breastfeeding journey through tongue-tie and milk allergy, and on the importance of good support. 

“I was referred to a lactation clinic and they were like angels. I wasn’t expecting miracles. So, that’s what I got, I did get a miracle. We figured out that she had a milk allergy. I cut dairy out of my diet completely. And she actually slept. So, I did manage to solely breastfeed her, from that point.”

Anna J6th August

“You constantly adapt and support each other. Because I was surrounded by my mum who done it, and then my sister and then the other forms of support that I’ve gone and sought out, that’s why it has been successful because it’s having the knowledge of other people to go. “No, just keep at it. Just keep doing it, you’re doing it right”. 

“Because I was surrounded by my mum who’d done it, my sister &  other forms of support, that’s why it’s been successful. It’s having the knowledge of other people to go ‘Just keep at it. Just keep doing it, you’re doing it right’

Anna on being a new mum:  

We had that horrific night of no one’s asleep, everyone’s awake. Nobody’s happy. We were like, “What is this angry gammon we have and what are we gonna do with it?”

 Nicola7th August 

On dealing with #Raynaud’s in lockdown

I had Raynaud’s. It was the cold that would cause the pain and I’d been treating myself, got a doctor to treat me for thrush for through almost a month. And it obviously wasn’t clearing because it wasn’t thrush. And, because of COVID, you weren’t really properly seeing a doctor so no one was giving you a proper diagnosis. It was only one morning, when I hadn’t fed her, the pain came, I thought, ‘Whoa, this isn’t from breastfeeding.” And then I clicked, I looked it up and so I was able to get that treated.