Thursday, 16 May 2013

Star Buddy Breastfeeding Support for local Mums and Babies


The Breastfeeding Network (BFN) and Lune Park Children's Centre in Ryelands Park are collaborating to deliver a pilot project that offers information and support to local mums who choose to start breastfeeding their new babies and continues until the babies are eight weeks old. It has been running since 2012 and is funded until August by the Early Intervention Fund of the Children's Trust.

Star Buddies (http://www.starbuddies.co.uk/) are a group of Lancashire mums who have been trained by the BFN to offer breastfeeding support to mums and babies in their local areas. Lancastrian mum Becky Griffiths, a trained Star Buddy, runs the Lune Park project in just 8 hours a week, offering home visits to all mums who opt into the scheme and on-going support via phone, text and Facebook for up to eight weeks. Becky aims to normalise breastfeeding in an area where bottle feeding prevails.

Becky and her fellow Star Buddies run a drop-in group at the Lune Park Centre to help new mums make friends as well as to give information and help with breastfeeding. Drop in every Thursday from 10.30 till 12 to meet local mums and Star Buddies.

Becky arranges a café meet-up once a month, enabling mums to socialise and embrace the challenge of feeding out and about. A breastfeeding out-and-about scheme runs throughout North Lancashire. The group has helped to develop a list of over 270 local businesses across Blackpool and North Lancs that have signed up to the 'Breastfeeding Friendly Premises' scheme. Businesses like cafés sign up to being “Breastfeeding Friendly” – look out for the stickers or check out the website (www.nwnwbabyfriendly.org.uk/).

Mums are given the opportunity to sign up for the Lune Park scheme when their baby is born by the Star Buddies who work on the maternity ward at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. Mums who opt into the scheme can access support for up to eight weeks and then continue to attend the drop-in and café meet ups and use the Facebook page. A similar scheme runs across Morecambe which started in 2010. All mums of babies who live in Morecambe are offered breastfeeding support including a home visit. Also around thirty trained volunteer Star Buddies support breastfeeding mums at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, in Children’s Centres and in their communities across Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth.

Dawn Staig, a local mum who signed up for the scheme, said: “If it wasn't for Becky and the group I would never have breastfed for seven months now. She has been an amazing guide when things haven't been going well and the group is awesome and I have made some true friends.”

Lune Park Children’s Centre is situated in one of the most deprived areas of Lancaster and Morecambe and has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates. Further funding is being sought to continue this successful project.

The Breastfeeding Network (www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk) is a Scottish Charity promoting breastfeeding and a greater understanding of breastfeeding in the United Kingdom. They collect and disseminate information on breastfeeding and baby and infant nutrition. They provide information and support to parents on the feeding of babies and infants and set and encourage the acceptance of quality standards for breastfeeding support, establishing and publishing codes of practice for such support.

The BFN doesn't accept funding from sources which have a commercial interest in infant feeding. For example, they will not accept sponsorship from manufacturers or distributors of breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles, teats or dummies.

To find out more about local breastfeeding support contact Lune Park Children's Centre (http://www.lunepark.childrencentre.org/) on 01524 382818.

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