Breast feeding support services to be offered by Together for Families

The Co-ordination of Breastfeeding support services for new mothers in Cornwall is transferring to Together for Families at Cornwall Council, after Real Baby Milk announced they were withdrawing from their contract to support and train volunteers, at the end of December. 

Cabinet Member for Children and Well Being, Councillor Sally Hawken, said: “Real Baby Milk are considered leaders in the field of breastfeeding support and I would like to thank them for their commitment and dedication over the years. 

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“They have worked alongside neonatal nurses, midwives, health visitors and children’s’ services staff to ensure women and their families get access to appropriate and consistent information and guidance to support them to breastfeed their babies for as long as they want to.

 “And despite the contract with Real Baby Milk coming to an end; Cornwall Council is committed to maintaining the network of breastfeeding peer support that Real Baby Milk has been working so hard to maintain.”

Breastfeeding rates in the UK are comparatively low compared to the rest of the world with only 34% still exclusively feeding at 6 months, which is what the World Health Organisation recommend for optimal health. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large.

The team at Real Baby Milk will be continuing to work to produce resources supporting Health Professionals, families and babies. The new edition of the Cornwall Essential Guide will be published by the end of January 2020. Real Baby Milk will also be continuing to offer accredited Training.

The process is now under way to transfer the peer support coordinator role into Together for Families, the combined directorate for children’s services at Cornwall Council. During the transition period Jan – March 2020 there will be a reduced level of recruitment and training while the new coordination arrangements are put into place.

Sally continued: “We will work closely with the existing volunteers to ensure they continue to receive the support and training they need to deliver their role. The volunteers will be well linked into health and children’s services and will be given the opportunity to co-produce any plans, developments or changes that ensure the network can be sustained.”

Breastfeeding peer support meets NICE guidance, UNICEF Baby Friendly standards and the United Nation rights of the Child. It is also an opportunity for local women to access accredited training and volunteer in their communities.

Public Health Commissioner at Cornwall Council, Jo Lewitt, concluded: “I am genuinely heartened by the passion and commitment shown in Cornwall to support new mums breastfeed their babies. Sadly, many women still stop feeding before they want to and often report feeling bad about it.

“There is much more work to be done to improve this situation. We hope to build on the great foundations that have been laid by Real Baby Milk, in Pollen CIC. The hope is that we maintain and strengthen the current network of trained volunteers who offer their valuable time to other women in their communities, many of whom are inspired by the support they received themselves.”