J’Nel Metherell (Milton Keynes Chair and speaker Co-ordinator)
I’m J’Nel, mother to three children, all of who were breastfed. My journeys made me passionate about the need for all parents to have access to well-researched up-to-date breastfeeding information. I am a volunteer La Leche League Leader and IBCLC, hoping that I can provide parents with the support they need to reach their breastfeeding goals, whatever they might be. I attended The Breastfeeding Festival in Manchester in 2015, along with two colleagues, and fell in love with the event and how they’d managed to mesh lots of conference style talks into a family friendly event. It was a lively atmosphere, unlike most breastfeeding and baby conferences I’d previously attended. I look forward to showing the parents and professionals of Milton Keynes how we can wrap breastfeeding education into a fun two-day event.
Laura Courtney (Milton Keynes Treasurer)
Hi, I’m Laura, mum of three boys aged, 8, 2 & a newborn! My passion for breastfeeding really emerged during my pregnancy with my second baby. After having great difficulty with breastfeeding my first due to having very little knowledge and support to help me through, I stopped breastfeeding when he was around 6 weeks old, this is something that has troubled me ever since so I knew I needed to seek more support to enable me to breastfeed for longer, I did just that and now I’m currently still feeding my toddler through pregnancy and hope to continue with tandem feeding once the new baby arrives. With everything I’ve learnt and experienced so far, I really enjoy helping to support other parents with their journeys despite still learning a lot myself and eventually I hope to become a breastfeeding peer support volunteer.
Jamie Hill (Milton Keynes Secretary)
I’m Jaime, I’m a mum of six wonderful children, I have two daughters aged 18 and 12 and four sons aged 16, 14, 8 and 4 years. I’ve been interested in breastfeeding since nursing my oldest all those years ago. At that time the advice I received was mixed and confusing, but we struggled through until she was weaned from the breast at what I thought was the ‘normal’ age of 1 year old. As the years and babies went by, I became more experienced and informed as a parent and I discovered that babies and children could nurse for so much longer and have no pain! and that evidence-based information and support was key to a successful breastfeeding relationship.
I discovered La Leche League in 2011 after the birth of my fifth child. When I attended the LLL North Bucks (sadly now closed) group I immediately felt at ‘home’ and knew that I had found my calling and I began my application for leadership in 2012. I finally accredited as a La Leche League leader (breastfeeding counsellor) in January 2015 and co-lead the Milton Keynes group with J’Nel. At the same time as completing my LLL application I persuaded my employer to send m
e on the UNICEF training and completed the Relationship Building course in 2013 And the Train the Trainer course in 2014. In addition to my role as a leader I also co-chair the newly formed Breastfeeding Alliance MK, a collaboration bringing together all the breastfeeding organisations in Milton Keynes.
I first attended the Breastfeeding Festival in 2015 and revisited for the following two years, I knew that it would be an amazing event to run in my home town and am thrilled that it we are finally able to make it happen!
Rachael Bickley (Milton Keynes Activities Co-ordinator)
My name is Rachael, I am a mum to 4 children and am chair of Maternity:MK, an NHS advisory group that brings together parents and care providers to co-produce improvements in maternity care. I am a member of the Breastfeeding Alliance and have worked with women and children for nearly 20 years in both paediatric and maternity settings. My passion for feeding support stems from my early experiences of the support given to me when I breastfed my first baby born at 28 weeks. Without the support I was given, our journey would have been very different, and I truly believe that all families deserve first-class feeding support.
Emma Teasdale (Milton Keynes Activities Co-ordinator)
I qualified as a midwife in 2005 but discovered my passion for breastfeeding and supporting families with feeding their babies while I was still training. I’m currently taking a break from midwifery to care for my own family who range in age from 17 to 2.
Lauren Wong (Milton Keynes Stalls Co-ordinator)
Hi, I’m Lauren. I’m a NICU senior sister, IBCLC and tongue tie practitioner. I grew up in NW London and moved to Leighton Buzzard in 2005. I have two wonderful girls (8 and 5) who were both breastfed despite challenges! As well as my NHS work, I also provide independent infant feeding support for families (LoveMilk.co.uk). I love reading, snowboarding, live music and gardening! I’m very excited to be involved with bringing this wonderful event to the local area.
Joanna Arnold (Milton Keynes Marketing and social media Co-ordinator)
Hi, I’m Jo, mum to Primrose (3) and Wilf (18m). Prim was breastfed until she 18m and Wilf shows no sign of stopping any time soon. I’m a huge advocate for women’s rights and choices in pregnancy, labour and beyond, and want to offer support to all mothers who intend to breastfeed. I run a breastfeeding group in my local area and intend to train as an LLL leader in 2019. I also write a blog – ‘Tales from the Mother Side’, which focuses on (amongst other things) breastfeeding support, positive birth and gentle parenting. I’m so excited to be a part of the MK Breastfeeding Festival – we’re very lucky to be hosting it here.
Catherine Jeffrey (Milton Keynes Fundraising Co-ordinator)
I’m Catherine: HR professional, Trustee at Refugees Welcome MK and Mum to two boys. I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my children but had no idea how hard it would be with my first. He had tongue tie which meant it took 7 weeks to establish exclusive breastfeeding. It was an overwhelmingly emotional time and I’m so grateful for the support I received that I actively try to support new mums around me through those first few, often difficult, weeks. Access to support and information is so important to breastfeeding success which is why I am passionate about the Breastfeeding Festival – a great opportunity for education and engagement on this important matter.