Today’s post on Bishopston Mum is about a weekly breastfeeding support group held at Playful Cafe in Bishopston.
It is for mums or mums-to-be at any stage of their breastfeeding journey and offers support, information and a chance to chat with other mums and trained breastfeeding peer supporters. The group runs at Playful Cafe at 1-3 Fenton Court, Fenton Road (just off Bishop Road), every Friday between 10am – 12pm in term time and there is no charge.
This breastfeeding group was originally held at Horfield Baptist Chuch but changed venue when Playful Cafe opened a few months ago.
Today, Tamzen Lomas, one of the breastfeeding peer supporters who facilitates the group, answers some questions about the group.
What training did you do to become a breastfeeding peer supporter?
Both myself and Gemma did our training at the end of last year. It was a 10 week course funded and run by Barnardos.
Please explain the change of venue for your breastfeeding support group?
When the opportunity came to move to Playful Cafe we jumped at it as it has a great atmosphere that will definitely help to build the social aspects of the group. It also accommodates those mothers who may not have specifically gone to the group but on seeing us there can come over to chat.
It is also great for second, third and fourth time mothers with older sibling as there is so much for them to do, and it allows the mother the space to chat to myself, Gemma or the other mothers.
Also, by being in Playful, in a small way the group is helping to normalise breastfeeding and helps mothers to have more confidence to feed wherever their baby needs to.
Why did you choose to train as a breastfeeding peer supporter?
Like a lot of peer supporters I chose to become a volunteer as I didn’t have the easiest journey to breastfeeding. I am lucky to come from a back ground where breastfeeding is the norm. I assumed after I had my baby I would just feed it and that would be that.
However it took me a long time to establish feeding, my daughter lost a lot of weight and took a long time to starting gaining. However due to the most amazing support network I was able to keep going and I got there. What had been such a struggle became second nature, easy and the most empowering and enjoyable experience.
I know that support makes so much difference, it can be the difference between stopping and carrying on. Especially when the support come with information that enables the mother to make decision that are right for her and her baby.
What is your role as a breastfeeding peer supporter?
As peer supports, Gemma and I are there to listen, to give support and encouragement, and to provide information that allows mothers (and sometimes fathers) to have options. We can check attachment and positioning of the baby or toddler and offer alternative ideas.
We provide information on the benefits of feeding for both the mother and baby/babies, short and long term. As well as information for those mothers who have a challenge that interferes with feeding such as tongue – tie or infection, and mother with multiples. We also provide information on expressing, storage of milk, weaning (including baby led) to solids or on to formula.
Who is your breastfeeding support group for?
The group welcomes mothers at whatever stage of their breastfeeding journey that they are at. From pregnancy through to feeding into toddlerhood. We recognise that things can change and a mother who was able to feed with no issues may suddenly find at four months that things are not so easy.