05 Aug

Our New CEO

by Sarah Turner, Chair of the Board

I am delighted to be able to introduce BfN’s new CEO, Catherine Hine.  It is always daunting having to replace such a senior role in any organisation, and in our case, Shereen left particularly big shoes to fill in leaving to join UNICEF UK. The board were, however, thrilled with the quality of applications that we received for the role. In appointing Catherine, we believe we have found a fantastic replacement, someone with a clear passion for not only the role of breastfeeding in society, but also with proven experience of negotiating the third sector – and in particular, in organisations with a strong focus on the protection of, and promotion of, women and families – for a very long time.

Catherine will be joining us in early October, and her first major event for BfN will be the annual conference, where we are planning for her to introduce herself, and, time allowing, to be on hand to answer any questions you might have.  Until she joins, if there are any questions, thoughts or otherwise that you would like to pass on to her, please send them through me, and I will pass them on.

Now, to hand over to Catherine, here is a bit about her, in her own words.

“I would, first of all, like to give a huge thank you to everyone who has supported the transition period over the last few months, and to Shereen for her dedication to BfN and to supporting a smooth transition for me into this role. I’m very much looking forward to getting out and about and meeting the BfN community, and would like nothing more than for you to share with me anything you feel it would be useful for me to know, or have me attend or participate in any events or opportunities to get to understand BfN and the work you do, better.

My commitment to breastfeeding comes as a result of my own experience of the ups and downs of breastfeeding, and also from serving as both a CEO and advocate in the family and relationships sector, and as a Board member of Smallwood Trust, an award-winning grant-maker tackling women’s poverty.  My MBA research, which looked at the role of the family as a corporate sustainability issue, informed further research with the RSA and won a new Working Families award. 

Beyond this, I have worked for many years in the public and not-for-profit sectors, including as Secretary General for the volunteer-led World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in Europe, lead for Oxford City Council’s communities and inequalities activity, and as a former Country Director for the volunteering charity, VSO.

In my current role, and as a mother, I am a passionate advocate for the vital role of a child’s earliest experiences to their brain development and later life outcomes. By helping families to have the choice to breastfeed, BfN volunteers and staff play a key role in improving family relationships, and help children to have the best possible start in life. By valuing, yet not romanticising breastfeeding, BfN also has a key role in enabling families to fulfil their potential.  I am really looking forward to working with you to build upon the great work of Shereen and the BfN staff and volunteer community.“


01 Aug

Bump Buddies Ayrshire

Lynsey McLuckie, Peer Support Coordinator – BfN Ayrshire & Arran

World Breastfeeding Week 2022 is about education and support within infant feeding. A key element of this is antenatal support.  The Breastfeeding Network team in Ayrshire and Arran have been working hard to support families at this key stage of their infant feeding journey.

Bump Buddies Ayrshire

Bump Buddies began as a pilot scheme in 2021 and takes the form of antenatal classes delivered to expectant families across Ayrshire and Arran. Initially, COVID-19 restrictions meant all antenatal classes in Ayrshire were stopped. To tackle this, BfN Ayrshire and Arran received funding from the Queens Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) and worked in partnership with the NHS to develop and deliver online antenatal sessions for parents to be and their wider support network.

These sessions have grown and adapted to meet the needs of the women and families we support and we are extremely thankful to have continued funding from NHS Ayrshire and Arran, allowing us to deliver these sessions until March 2023.

The Importance of Antenatal Support

Research shows how vital a strong support network is in the early days and weeks for families who are breastfeeding. Our sessions include parents but also their support network. This can be anyone from siblings, grandparents, friends – anyone that will be there for families once their baby arrives. Our sessions are run over three sessions, taking place once a week. We aim to give attendees the information to empower them to make their own infant feeding decisions by offering independent, evidence based information and support.  It is important to us that our families know where to access the support they require following the birth of their baby. We recognise that after having a baby things can be a bit of blur and we hope that by having these discussions and providing information antenatally, families will know where to access support during this time.

The Success of Bump Buddies

Families are at the heart of what we do and we use feedback from our attendees to continually develop our sessions. As well as supporting families with evidence based information, we love being able to create an community where women can support each other. Feedback from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive, with 95% of responses indicating that information provided during sessions was useful to them. 95% of expectant mothers reported that the sessions helped them increase their knowledge of breastfeeding and make informed choices regarding infant feeding.

We are so proud to receive such positive feedback, particularly for a relatively new project, and are excited to see what the future holds!

I would like to take a moment to show my gratitude to all our volunteers here in Ayrshire and Arran as without them, we would not be able to make this happen.  Thank you!

If you are located in Ayrshire and Arran and would like to know more about the support we provide in your area, please find more information here or via Facebook.


27 Jul

What Breastfeeding Looks Like

Images courtesy of @decuirinducinglactationstory, Gosia, @adaptiveparentproject, Kimberly, @nina_tame@hamofcydonia

Last year we asked you to send us images capturing what breastfeeding looks like for you and we were so pleased with the response.  This has allowed us to increase the range of diversity represented in our visual communication and for that we thank you!

This year we are running our campaign again to increase our bank of images further as we continue on our journey to truly reflect what breastfeeding looks like to all families we support. 

Here are some useful image guidelines:

  • While it would be lovely to see your face, if you’d rather remain anonymous and be cropped out, that’s fine too.
  • There’s no need to show a bare breast or nipple if you don’t want to.
  • We’re not looking for clinical “textbook” images, in fact quite the opposite. So don’t worry about turning your photo into a demonstration, we’d much rather see the human, everyday side of breastfeeding.
  • Your photo does not need to be perfectly styled or staged – it would be great to see real life, so if there are toys strewn around or washing drying in the background, so be it.
  • It can be helpful to show that breastfeeding doesn’t always have to take place in a comfy chair – so photos of breastfeeding out and about or in interesting or unusual locations would also be great!

We would particularly welcome images from:

  • Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic or interracial families
  • Families living with a disability (whether this is a parent or child)
  • Parents in same-sex relationships
  • Trans parents
  • Younger parents
  • Families breastfeeding older children or tandem feeding
  • Blended families
  • Single parent families

We would also love to see images that represent the difficulties that can be associated with breastfeeding.

If you would like to contribute your image, details of how it may be used can be found on our photo consent form here.

Images can be sent to claire.dorby@breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk

01 Jul

New research on the delivery of breastfeeding support in England and Wales.

Anthea Tennant-Eyles, Research Lead and Programme Manager

Cardiff University and The Breastfeeding Network are pleased to publish the full report of their research findings on trends and experiences of the delivery of breastfeeding support in England and Wales since 2015.

This research looks at data from local authorities, CCGs, health boards, infant feeding leads, peer supporters and service users on breastfeeding support services.  The need to value and increase awareness of breastfeeding peer support at all levels has been a key finding.

This video details some of the findings in the words of those surveyed:


You can download the full report here.