When you work in an ad agency, you become a mini-expert on a huge range of diverse topics.

Farm safety?

I could hold down a good conversation at the Balmoral Show.

Need your water pipes lagged for winter?

I could probably do that for you myself.

But while becoming a mini-expert on breastfeeding for the PHA’s #NotSorryMums campaign, I had no idea what was coming next.

Fast-forward four years and there I am, on-stage collecting an award for our breastfeeding campaign, but now as an actual breastfeeding mum!

It was such a proud moment because I’d developed a really deep personal connection to that campaign over time.

(It was also my first night out post-baby so just getting out of the house was an achievement in itself.)

Back when we were working on the campaign, I remember learning about all the benefits of breastfeeding.

It convinced me I wanted to breastfeed if the time ever came.

But I also discovered that so many new mums in Northern Ireland felt nervous about breastfeeding, especially in public.

Outdated attitudes among the wider public meant that mums often felt really discouraged from doing this thing that’s so beneficial for their child.

So, the campaign we created with PHA aimed to make mums feel empowered to feed, and it was also designed to challenge misinformed public perceptions.

And it worked!

Post-campaign tracking showed that 73% of people said the campaign made them think more positively about breastfeeding.

80% of mums-to-be and new mums also said they felt encouraged to breastfeed in public.

Then, at the PANI Awards 2022, the campaign won the Grand Prix, Gold in Mixed Media, Silver in Public Sector Press and Bronze in the Magazine category.

It was a big moment for our whole ad agency, but especially for me and two colleagues there that night, Tracey and Lyndsey, who were also feeding at the time.

Tracey actually volunteers with HSC as a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter.

I leant on her for support and advice throughout my breastfeeding journey, and I’m still in total awe of her feeding her triplets and her eldest son before that.

This week celebrates the WHO’s World Breastfeeding Week with the theme, ‘Let’s make breastfeeding and work, work!’.

I’m proud to be doing both and really grateful that Genesis is so supportive of the breastfeeding mums on the team (thanks guys!).

For anyone concerned about breastfeeding and returning to work, you can get advice here.

If you’re heading to Breastival at the weekend, look out for Tracey and her gang.

And you can check out our breastfeeding ad campaign here.


Ruth Laverty, Digital Content Lead