30 Jun

Drugs in Breastmilk Information Service: Update

BfN’s plans to support Wendy Jones’s retirement came to fruition last weekend when our new team of trained volunteer pharmacists took up the baton of responding to enquiries to the BfN Drugs in Breastmilk Service Facebook page

Shereen Fisher, Chief Executive for the BfN said, ‘In 2019 we asked evaluators at Swansea University ​to set out the key recommendations for taking our Drugs in Breastmilk service forward – I am pleased to say the number one recommendation was to train more supporters and ensure longer term stability, and last Saturday showed the progress we are making.’

The new team of volunteer pharmacists, who are all trained BfN breastfeeding support helpers, have shared in our vision as we look to the future, supporting breastfeeding parents and healthcare professionals with queries about drugs in breastmilk. 

We are so fortunate to be able to bring a huge amount of expertise and energy to the service, with our new group of 11 pharmacists, many of whom already work in women’s health and have experience supporting breastfeeding families via social media, both voluntarily and professionally.  

As BfN continues to work with the new Safer Medicines in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Consortium led by the Medicines in Health Regulatory Authority, this new team is supporting an enormously valuable and valued service to provide information, empathy and understanding to the thousands of enquirers who contact the service each year.

The volunteer team have got off to a great start with the guidance and support from supervisors and Wendy remains on hand throughout the summer while the service transitions. BfN are making plans for a proper celebration to mark Wendy’s unwavering commitment and contribution to supporting breastfeeding families over the last two decades. 

Wendy Jones says “I am delighted to leave the BfN Drugs in Breastmilk service in safe hands.  My dream over the past 26 years has been that all women are empowered to make evidence based decisions on medication whilst continuing to feed their babies and that all healthcare professionals feel fully informed when prescribing to them. My passion for this subject continues.  I feel very proud that another 11 pharmacists share my feelings. I’m looking forward to more time with my family, my animals and my garden, but yet another book might be needed before I put away my computer!’

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04 Jun

Making Move in May Memories

I simply cannot believe today marks the end of the Breastfeeding Network’s Move in May challenge. Blink, and May evaporated!  

In this final week of the month, our family made the most of the sunnier weather – kicking a ball around the field and balancing on planks we stumbled across were our highlights.

At work, I parked in the furthest car park from the hospital so I could enjoy a brisk walk in the fresh air either side of my shifts. The results of our efforts are showing, both mentally and physically.

My children can run around the park for longer. They’ve learned to play “tag” and “stuck in the mud”. They’ve been asking to go outside more often and cheer when I agree, running to grab their hats. And I hunted out last summer’s shorts from the loft and my quads have grown so much they no longer fit!  

Move in May has encouraged us to spend quality time together, which has been a glorious start to summer. Receiving my invitation to step up as a BfN Community Champion was an honour, and hopefully our family will keep up the good habits that were started and embedded this month. We’re already looking forward to next year’s challenge! 

Huge thanks to Ash and Cleo, our Move in May 2021 Community Champions. We simply can’t thank you enough. 


Please do check out the Move in May 2021 wrap up video: 

03 Jun

BfN Awarded Good Governance Award

It’s been an unforgettable year for the Breastfeeding Network, with record breaking numbers of mothers and parents supported on the National Breastfeeding Helpline and by our peer supporters across England, Wales and Scotland, who have adapted to supporting new parents and families online. The way the charity has responded under pressure and to the challenges has been truly amazing. So I am thrilled to be sharing yet another success on top of this….

In April this year, just over a year from the first lockdown, BfN achieved the Good Governance Award!

Under the guidance of the BfN Board, we started the journey of reviewing our governance practice many years ago. But we only felt able to formalise a process for seeking external review for BfN in late 2019, when Ann Kerr (BfN Chair) spotted details on the Good Governance Award at a training event for charities in Scotland. Good governance is fundamental to a charity’s success. It enables and supports a charity’s compliance with the law and relevant regulations. It also promotes a culture in which everything works towards fulfilling the charity’s vision.

The Good Governance Award is the Quality Standard for Scottish charities, recommended by OSCR. The Award supports and celebrates governance best practice, recognising the importance of good management to the efficacy and efficiency of Scottish Charities. Dundee Voluntary Action developed the Award, and Chief Executive Shereen Fisher said, “We know that BfN is well thought of for its breastfeeding information and support by Mothers, Parents and Families, but we can also now show parents and families and the wider public that we are well-run and well-governed – this will bring a new layer of trust and confidence”.  

What was the process?

The Board of Trustees and the Central team have spent the last eighteen months following a clear, structured approach to assessing and improving the charity’s policies and procedures. The charity has looked closely at the following areas to compile an eportfolio which evidences competency and best practice in:

  • Charitable Status
  • Trustees
  • Planning, Delivering, & Monitoring
  • Recruitment
  • Managing Staff & Volunteers
  • Managing Finances
  • Managing Resources
  • Marketing & Communications

Completion of the award provides proof that BfN is actively engaging in excellent governance through our Award Certification. It adds value and enables us to build a sustainable, better future for all of the families that we support. BfN have been awarded three years of Good Governance Award status and will be involved in a forum to support re-assessment.

For further information, email ceo@breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk

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