A peer support group that provides a lifeline to mums and babies in Croydon has launched this week to coincide with Breastfeeding Celebration Week, 17-22 June.
The New Addington Mum2Mum breastfeeding peer support programme, which is funded by Croydon Council and run by Croydon Health Services, trains volunteer mums to help other parents with breastfeeding.
The volunteers are trained over several weeks to give mothers and families practical and emotional advice around infant feeding and weaning.
Local mums and children gathered on Wednesday at Croydon’s CALAT children’s centre in New Addington to find out more about the programme and to network.
Breastfeeding helps mums, families and babies and the benefits last into adulthood. It can support family budgets, reduce illness and increase bonding between mother and baby. The Department of Health’s advice is to breastfeed exclusively up to six months, and beyond as a part of a mixed diet.
New mums and mums-to-be can also get support at two Croydon Baby Cafés in Woodside and Selsdon, which are funded and staffed by Croydon Health Services. They have free drop-in sessions where pregnant and breastfeeding mums can get information and support for their families. The cafés complement a range of other breastfeeding services offered across the borough. More information can be found at www.croydonhealthservices.nhs.uk/community-breastfeeding-support
Organisations supporting the launch event at New Addington included the Croydon Real Nappies CIC, Bras At Home – bra fitting service and Wear My Baby Beckenham – a baby sling initiative.
“We are proud to offer services like these in the borough, which we know can be a lifeline to many new parents and can prevent them feeling isolated and worried. It is important for parents to feel happy and healthy and supported to give their children the best start in life.”
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care
Clare Greaves, is a New Addington peer support volunteer mum: “We provide a wraparound service for our local mums. I previously breastfed my own children, which gave me the passion to be part of this programme. We are here to address parents’ concerns and offer advice and support. There is also a drop-in service and baby cafés that they can visit. I have supported more than 50 women over the years and some have also become peer support mums as a result of my help.”
Perry Daryf and son Zak attended the launch event: “The breast feeding support team is amazing. I had a difficult time breastfeeding and they have given me a lot of support; now me and my son are on a really good journey. I also love the community feeling from this group. I have now learnt how to use my baby sling, which I have owned for a while but I was not confident using it. Zak is now very comfortable, and I think the sling is going to change my life because now I can move around the house more freely!”