Local Basingstoke parents with national charity NCT agree to fundraise to keep vital professional breastfeeding support.
Following the decision by Hampshire County Council not to continue to fund eight breastfeeding support clinics in north Hampshire, the Basingstoke Branch of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) is reassuring expectant and new mums across the area that breastfeeding support will still be available through B.A.B.I.E.S (Babies and Breastfeeding Information, Encouragement and Support group) at the Brookvale Village Hall on Friday mornings allowing mums to come along and meet a professionally trained breastfeeding counsellor to answer questions and offer help and support with any difficulties breastfeeding.
Just under 80% of mothers in North Hampshire start breastfeeding yet by the time their babies are between 6 and 8 weeks old, fewer than half are giving any breast milk to their babies (1). Nationally, 86% of mothers who stop breastfeeding in the first two weeks say they would have liked to breastfeed for longer (2).
Mindy Noble from the Hampshire Breastfeeding Counselling Service said:
“We know mothers are incredibly disappointed that the County Council has not listened to their views. They value the specialist skill of a Breastfeeding Councillor and with 6 out of the eight breastfeeding drop-ins closing this will no longer be available to all women in our area. We had hoped that the Council would build on the success of this project and extend it to enable women across the country to have access to the same level of support, but they have not”.
Local Mums will be fundraising to keep open the Basingstoke B.A.B.I.E.S drop-in, held every Friday from 10.00am to 11.30am at Brookvale Village Hall. The following drop in sessions have now closed: Chineham, Tadley, Whitchurch, Kingsclere and Overton. In Andover the Friday drop-in has now closed, however the Tuesday drop-in will remain funded by parents from NCT Winchester and Andover.
Health Visitors are available to offer support, however the level of knowledge they have after the 2/3 day training compared to the 2.5 years training undertaken by a dedicated counsellor is limited. Local Health Visitors themselves have expressed disappointment over the closure of this service in so many areas and advocate its value to new mums.
Mums who have used the free service express their disappointment over the closures:
- “The other sources of support were great but no one had the knowledge that the ladies in the drop-in did”.
- “The support was practical as they could actually watch me feed and help me correct even the smallest thing…it was obvious that the experience that they had was invaluable; every question I asked they were able to answer”.
If anyone would like to donate to the Basingstoke B.A.B.I.E.S breastfeeding support group they can do so by visiting their Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/BasingstokeNCTBABIES
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