Helping breastfeeding victories grow

Here at 438, we’re fortunate to have a talented team of passionate individuals who not only excel in their professional roles but also bring a wealth of personal experience to work. This means that as a marketing company dedicated to delivering impactful campaigns, we often come across projects that deeply resonate with us on a personal level. 

The Grow Breastfeeding campaign was exactly that for Sophie, 438’s first official recruit back in 2006. Read on as she delves into this inspiring case study that merged our professional and personal lives, driving positive change and helping to empower families across Tameside to celebrate every single breastfeeding victory.

Over you to you, Sophie…

‘I’ve loved working at 438 for the last 17 years; I love all my clients and I love the varied work, but every once in a while, something comes along that not only fulfils you on a professional level but also a personal one. For me, working on the Grow Breastfeeding campaign was exactly that.

I’m very passionate about breastfeeding. Having been fortunate to have successfully fed both my children and donated milk to special care, it’s something I’m immensely proud of and look back on with only happiness (despite how hard it sometimes was, and a painful three-night hospital stay with mastitis). So being able to take my personal experience and develop this into a movement to help other parents was a bucket list event I will be forever proud of. 

‘For most of my professional career, I’ve helped to deliver clear business objectives, the growth of brands, an increase in sales, and improved customer experience. This campaign’s objective seemed simple: ‘to increase breastfeeding rates in Tameside’. However, the path to achieving this goal required navigating tricky questions such as what constitutes breastfeeding? Does combi-feeding count? At what point does it contribute to statistics? 

‘Surprisingly, exploring these grey areas led us to our creative breakthrough. We realised that every milestone, no matter how small, and every moment of perseverance, represented a significant victory for breastfeeding.

‘Our goal? That when someone asks you if you’ve breastfed, you shouldn’t feel the need to reply with “Yes but only for…”. Or “I tried but it was so hard”. You should positively answer, without any insecurity or doubt: “YES I DID!”. 

Because whether your breastfeeding journey lasted two days or two years, we wanted parents to celebrate their victories, knowing that each feed contributed to a larger movement. Our aim? To create a community of support and encouragement that empowered parents to reach their next breastfeeding victory.

‘Why? Because we firmly believe that everyone, from partners and grandparents to children, can contribute to the breastfeeding victories of others. By offering support, providing water and food, or simply acknowledging the efforts of a breastfeeding parent in public, we can make a tangible difference. Together, we celebrate each breastfeeding victory, no matter how big or small, and become part of something truly important—a movement that nurtures acceptance and support for every individual’s choice.

‘Throughout this campaign, I have collaborated with some incredible people. The best Planning Director (and my friend) Christie played a pivotal role in conceptualising the campaign. The moment we sat in the boardroom and the idea came to us, we knew we’d created something special, and we didn’t come down from the high for weeks. Over the coming weeks, Christie sat with me on dozens of calls about the campaign where I cried about how important this is to me.

‘We’re also, of course, immensely grateful to all the courageous and inspiring mums who participated in our research phase. Their honesty, humour, and empowering stories shaped the final campaign. Additionally, the staff at Tameside Council taught us so much and entrusted us to create the movement that their parents deserved. Thank you.

‘And of course, thank you to Lucy Napier, our talented photographer who we just ‘clicked’ (excuse the pun). Her passion and dedication ensured that our parent models, who selflessly gave up their time and let us share their stories so that we could help empower parents in the future, immediately felt at ease. 

‘And the model babies…oh the babies! They say never to work with children or animals, and I was truly worried about working with babies that feed on demand, but they all delivered and truly helped make a difference.

‘Representing all types of families in the campaign was so important to me and Christie. When our photographer discovered Gemma and Sarah, a pregnant LGBTQ+ couple, it struck a chord with Christie, who is part of the LGBTQ+ community herself. When she told me: ‘I can’t tell you how important it is to see myself represented in this campaign,’ it really reinforced the importance of diversity and acceptance of breastfeeding for all families. The fact the campaign resonated with individuals from all walks of life made it even more rewarding.

‘Showing acceptance was crucial because, in the past 50 years, breastfeeding parents have often been shown ignorance, been made to feed in toilets, and told they’ve been feeding for too long. The Grow Breastfeeding campaign doesn’t just normalise breastfeeding; it actively celebrates it. It gives a huge two fingers to anyone who doesn’t show support for these individuals, their journey, and every single feed they’ve accomplished.

‘And to all the mums who apologise for breastfeeding, whether that be the length of time you did it for, the choices you made about additional support, or where you did it, you don’t need to. Instead, celebrate what you’ve achieved, celebrate every single feed, for you haven’t just accomplished breastfeeding victories, you are a #BreastfeedVictory.’