The Breastfeeding Network (BfN) is committed to empowering mothers and parents to breastfeed for as long as they choose and has been commissioned to deliver Peer Support Programmes for a number of years. We have experience of implementing these programmes in various settings to suit local needs. Established peer support services are well integrated with statutory services and close partnerships have been formed with local stakeholders.
BfN peer support programmes include:
- Activities to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding within the community.
- Training local women to provide support to other local families.
- Joint working between health professionals and peer supporters.
- Interactive antenatal sessions for pregnant women and their partners on how to breastfeed, followed by proactive support in the maternity unit and during the postnatal period. This should include a home visit within 48 hours of discharge from hospital or 48 hours after a home birth.
- Antenatal buddying scheme for teenage mums.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance recommends a peer support programme for women who breastfeed. These should be commissioned only as part of a breastfeeding strategy.
For more information about commissioning a Peer Support service in your area please read on
The National Breastfeeding Helpline (NBH)
The National Breastfeeding Helpline is a helpline run in collaboration with the Breastfeeding Network (BfN) and the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM). All the volunteers answering calls are mums who have breastfed, and all have received extensive training in breastfeeding support. Calls are diverted to the next available ABM or BfN volunteer. The Helpline is funded by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and the Scottish Government.
Click here to read the Evaluation of the National Breastfeeding Helpline impact in Scotland carried out in 2017.
Click here to read the 2012 UCLAN evaluation of the National Breastfeeding Helpline.
Drugs in Breastmilk Information Service
The original Drugs in Breastmilk Helpline was set up by BfN in response to the number of calls we were receiving that concerned medication.
An increasing number of parents and health professionals have sought to find more information on the levels of medicines passing through milk to the baby. Standard reference books such as the British National Formulary (BNF) provide little information for professionals and parents to make decisions on individual situations. BfN endeavours to provide information to enable parents to breastfeed their babies for as long as they wish and to provide information on the safety of medicines for each mother and baby pair.
In 2017 we noticed that the majority of enquiries from parents and professionals to the Drugs in Breastmilk Helpline were coming via email or social media. As a charity operating on reducing funds we need to run the service in the most efficient and effective way possible without compromising the needs of parents. As a result we decided to run the Drugs in Breastmilk service via email and social media enquiry only.
The service is open to parents and health professionals.