Our vision is a society where mums, parents and families are able to make informed decisions about breastfeeding, to access help when they need it and to become confident in their choices. For a new mum or parent deciding how to feed their baby, talking to a trained volunteer who knows about breastfeeding can make a crucial difference and the Breastfeeding Network strives to be the best we can be at providing peer support.
Our mission is to offer independent, evidence-based information and support to help build awareness of breastfeeding to individuals and organisations and to support a parent in their choice to breastfeed. You can read more about our current strategy here.
Our values are at the heart of how we work, we strive to always:
- Listen actively
- Keep a mum or parent at the centre
- Respect a parent and support their choices
- Share the evidence to inform early parenting choices
We will strive never to:
- Advocate a particular lifestyle
- Judge a parent for the choices they make
- Accept money from companies that have a commercial interest in infant feeding
- Charge a parent for any of our support services
- Charge parents who are looking to volunteer for the charity for training
Who We Work With
At the centre of our work are mums, parents and babies. We also work very closely with dads, partners, grandparents, uncles, aunts, health professionals and anyone else involved in a parent’s care. Experience tells us that this vital network of close and trusted people can be a safety net for new parents in the early days. We know that some parents need more support. This can be because of their age, social barriers, disability or where they are in their breastfeeding journey. Any of these factors can make breastfeeding more challenging and support more difficult to access. We target our efforts here and offer support by peers in drop-in groups to reach out to isolated communities and where breastfeeding rates are at their lowest. We develop evidence-based leaflets and train health professionals. We partner with organisations like Homestart, Best Beginnings, NCT and the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers who can help us in our work and who share our values. We also provide support in maternity units and childrens’ centres as well as via telephone helplines.
We have grown a network of over 600 trained volunteers.
We have achieved and maintained OCN accreditation across our Helpers and Supporters courses.
We have established projects in over 17 areas, with staff and volunteers supporting mums, parents and families before birth, on wards and at home in communities and in a number of areas we provide community support exclusively by trained volunteers.
We have supported over 500,000 mums and parents on the National Breastfeeding Helpline (with Welsh option)
We offer a unique Drugs in Breastmilk Service for mums, parents, health professionals which is run by a volunteer team of trained pharmacists. Every year we receive around 11,000 enquiries through social media.
We have produced a range of factsheets, on varying topics related to medications and breastfeeding
Since being founded in 1997 we have remained free and independent of commercial influence and have abided by the World Health Organisation/UNICEF Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and Subsequent Relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions.