I started my relationship with the BfN after having great difficulty with feeding my first daughter. I realised that establishing successful breastfeeding was the hardest, most emotionally charged thing I had ever done, and if I hadn’t had support from the many people who helped me during that period, it may have been impossible. Precisely because of this, I decided to train with the BfN to become a Helper.
I have regularly volunteered in Tower Hamlets since 2015, and went on to take my Supporter training in 2017 (enabling me to take calls on the National Breastfeeding Helpline).
My background is in finance, in particular focusing on the application of regulation to various financial activities. Following the birth of my second daughter, I have changed professional focus, and am now undertaking a PhD in the security and privacy of digital technologies in the home, whilst also consulting and researching on policy issues relating to digital technologies.
I joined the BfN as soon as it was formed in 1997. I am proud that my membership number is 002.
I continue to volunteer as a Supporter on the NBH and I have been a Tutor and Supervisor since I joined.
I have just retired from the NHS as a midwife and manager of the Tower Hamlets Baby Feeding service – so feel I now have more time to support the BfN by becoming a board member.
Retirement means that I can concentrate on the things I like best which is supporting mums and training others – both of which are very excellently done by the BfN.
I have over ten years experience in the third sector with a fundraising and project management background. I have worked for several national charities and currently support small charities to start, grow and strengthen their fundraising income, products and processes.
I discovered The Breastfeeding Network in March 2021, days after giving birth to my daughter. After a tricky start to breastfeeding and very inconsistent midwife support, I was fortunate enough to lean on a friend who suggested BFN as a great starting point to learning more about breastfeeding and to guide me through all those enormous questions you have in the early days.
From there, my passion grew to learn as much as I could about breastfeeding and to understand the huge inconsistencies in support I had received, to help advocate better for myself and my friends who had wanted to breastfeed too.
As a former breastfeeding counsellor, peer supporter and a mother of two children, I’m excited to be involved once again in supporting breastfeeding mothers and families to make informed parenting choices with the Breastfeeding Network.
I spent seven years training and working first as a peer supporter and then as a breastfeeding counsellor when my own two children were small, after receiving amazing support and making life changing friendships at a local breastfeeding group. As a breastfeeding counsellor I facilitated NCT antenatal groups, worked on their breastfeeding helpline and worked at weekly drop-in groups. I did this alongside my role as a Civil Servant until the time was right for me to step away from breastfeeding counselling seven years ago, as my children had grown and my career was taking me in a new direction.
However, expertise I gained as a breastfeeding counsellor came to the fore in my Civil Service career in ways I did not expect – my ability to facilitate groups, set clear personal and professional boundaries, to listen with meaning and care and to lead with empathy and authenticity. And my passion for supporting others in making informed choices has never waned!
I’ve been in the Civil Service for 17 years now and I think that I have a unique combination of expertise; knowledge, experience, and passion for supporting families and mothers on their breastfeeding journey and expansive experience enabling informed
government policy making and creating and delivering high level strategies. I hope to be able to combine the two things as a trustee for the BFN.
Ernestine Gheyoh Ndzi
I encountered the BfN when I started researching on the impact of shared parental leave policy on breastfeeding. I was/still interested in exploring how breastfeeding mothers wanting to take shared parental leave could return to work, with minimum disruption to breastfeeding. I am an advocate of breastfeeding and researching on barriers to mothers returning to work.
As a black mother of two, I realise that women of the black community do not tend to access breastfeeding support when they need it for various reasons. My aim is to work with the BfN to find viable and sustainable ways of reaching out to the BAME community.
In my other life, I am a senior lecturer in law. My area of expertise includes Company Law, Corporate Governance and Employment Law. I am excited about the opportunity the BfN has offered me because I will be able to share my skills as well as acquire skills and experience.
As a first time mum in 2019 I was lucky to have BfN support throughout my whole breastfeeding journey. My local BfN Peer Supporters were a major support in the biggest change in my life. The main thing that stood out to me about the BfN, was the independence I had to make my own decisions. I felt in control in an otherwise overwhelming situation. Following my experience, I was inspired to support others and I trained as a Helper in 2020. I have since actively supported parents and families in two of my local project areas.
I am delighted to have recently been appointed to the Board, and I am keen to share my interest in breaking down boundaries in society relating to breastfeeding and progressing the BfN’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity.
Alongside working part –time as a BfN Helper, I also work as a Commercial Property Solicitor.
Caroline first encountered the BfN after having her first baby and finding out the hard way that breastfeeding isn’t something you simply choose to do and then get on with.
After her second baby, a peer supporter suggested she should also train as a volunteer and since 2013 Caroline has been helping out in a couple of London groups and more recently on the helpline.
Since moving to the South West Caroline has had to give up work, and after 13 years in the financial services sector she’s very excited about joining the board as Treasurer and staying involved in that capacity too.
I first encountered BfN in 2018, while experiencing breastfeeding difficulties with my first child. I know from first-hand experience just how important it is to receive breastfeeding support and information. I was lucky to receive this from BfN and local breastfeeding support groups during both of my breastfeeding journeys. I feel passionately that this should be available to all mothers and families across the UK.
I volunteer as a peer supporter with a local independent support group, helping people to meet their breastfeeding goals. I also have a decade of experience in public affairs and strategic communications, specialising in health policy.
I joined the infant feeding world as an NHS peer support volunteer on the post-natal ward of my local hospital after leaving my career in finance to stay at home with my children.
I returned to paid employment in the third sector just over two years later to set up a brand-new breastfeeding peer support project where I live. There are no BfN projects local to me, so I trained online with the BfN as a Helpline Supporter. I am active on the National Breastfeeding Helpline taking calls and also answering messages as a member of the social media team.
I work for my local NHS trust as a Breastfeeding Support Worker.
My passion to support families to breastfeed was born from my own feeding experiences – one was straightforward, one was not. The drive to keep pushing for change and to keep reaching as many people as possible grows with each family I support. I firmly believe that every family and every baby deserve to live in a society that not only supports but protects, promotes and fully recognises the value of breastfeeding.
I am passionate about breastfeeding and its role in parent and infant wellbeing, and spent five years breastfeeding my two children. Breastfeeding was desperately hard for months of my first child’s life. During those early months I was supported by the Breastfeeding Network (BfN) via the National Breastfeeding Helpline, for which I cannot thank them enough.
Professionally, I started my work-life in a strategy consulting firm, and then a growth-capital fund. In both roles I worked across a broad spectrum of topics: strategy, risk management, customer research, big data analysis, and pricing.
Ten years ago I founded my own e-commerce business. As CEO, I lead and manage the business. My day job is to review financial performance and legal contracts, lead marketing and PR, as well as taking the role of financial and data analyst. I also serve on the BBC Editorial Review Board for food publishing.
I am excited to support the BfN as it continues to deliver important services.
I have been a registered BfN member for well over a decade, starting off as a volunteer Helper at a local group and am now a Tutor/Supervisor/Supporter and Helpline Volunteer. I have a deep commitment and passion for working alongside staff and volunteers to meet the needs of babies, mothers and families that we support. I am studying part-time for a DProf in Health, with a focus on breastfeeding.
Delivering the bias, privilege and equity sessions to our staff and volunteer teams has inspired me want to continue engaging with and being an active part of the wider organisation and its strategic direction as a Member Director.
I was supported by The Breastfeeding Network after the birth of my first child in 2019 and continued to attend their baby groups while on maternity leave. I trained as a volunteer and became a member in 2021 and have supported virtual and face-to-face groups and antenatal courses.
I live in the West Midlands and work in communications for a higher education institution. I’m looking forward to supporting the charity as it continues to grow its valuable service.