Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies recommissioned

This is one of our Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies, mum-of-three Sumayya. We recently received the good news that we are to be commissioned for another year in Bradford, into 2022. Find out more below.

The move online

Thanks to funding from Bradford Council, NCT has been recruiting and training volunteer breastfeeding peer supporters for five years, enabling us to provide support to mothers in community groups and in our local hospitals.

Julie Newbold, NCT Service Delivery Manager for Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies, tells us about the difficulties they have faced this year.

“This year has been really challenging. The onset of the Covid pandemic meant we had to quickly move from having 34 volunteer peer supporters working across six community drop-in groups each week, and going into hospital postnatal wards and antenatal settings, to providing all our services remotely.

We went from having six community drop-in groups a week to providing all our services remotely

“We are now running two online support groups each week via Zoom and provide support to mothers via telephone and Facebook messenger.

“We’ve also managed to train another four new breastfeeding peer supporters alongside others working on our sister projects in Peterborough, Southampton and our Scottish projects in Glasgow and Lothian.

“A benefit of working virtually, has meant much more cross project working, sharing ideas and really getting to know colleagues, which has been great.

“Our peer supporters have totally stepped up to the changes.

“Along with Team Leader Judith Nevin, our volunteers provide a listening ear to new mums, carefully unpick any concerns or questions about breastfeeding and signpost to evidenced based information or further support.

Follow-on support

95% of the women we supported were still giving their babies breastmilk at 10 days and 82% at 6 weeks

“We have conversations with pregnant women and provide follow-on support after the baby is born for as long as they need.

“In the three months to mid-October, we made 247 phone calls and had 150 conversations over Facebook messenger. 95% of the women we supported were still giving their babies breastmilk at 10 days and 82% at 6 weeks.

“Social isolation and lack of support, especially during the early weeks and months of parenting can have such a detrimental impact on mental health.

“We know that not being able to meet their feeding goals can have negative consequences for both mother and baby. I think it’s vital that infant feeding support is given the priority it deserves and all families have access to timely, skilled support.”

“We recently received the good news that we are to be commissioned for another year in Bradford, into 2022.

“It’s been really heartwarming to read some of the feedback we have received from families recently. Despite the situation we have found ourselves in 2020, it is great to hear we are still making a positive difference.”

"I would really like to train with NCT"

Asmah and Yahya at four months

Asmah Khalid is hoping to train with NCT to become a Bradford Breastfeeding Buddy. This is her story.

“Before my first born in 2012, I was very excited about breastfeeding. I thought there were so many positives to ‘breast is best’.

“I knew from a religious and personal perspective I wanted to breastfeed. Everyone I knew had found it very easy and I remember thinking there wouldn’t be the hassle of making bottles in the middle of the night. However, when my daughter was born it was anything but easy and I had a very painful experience.

“She would not attach easily, get easily irritated and become hard to settle. She heavily cluster fed in the evenings and would not drink well from my right breast.

“It led to me getting mastitis twice! It really began to take its toll on me emotionally, physically and mentally.

“Nonetheless, despite everyone suggesting I quit, my perseverance paid off and we both finally got it on the sixth week!

“The journey for me was an emotional rollercoaster. If it weren’t for my strong religious personal beliefs, I probably would have quit by the third week! There were no Breastfeeding Buddies services in the area I lived and I couldn’t message a midwife at 7am just to ask simple things as my baby grew and her feeding habits changed.

“There was a lot of pressure and a lot of women don’t breastfeed for long or at all due to time restraints or other commitments. Thankfully I overcame these and have breastfed all three of my children for the full two years, including my new born who is presently aged four months.

“Now I live in Bradford I would really like to train with NCT to become a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and join the Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies team.”

More information

Get in contact with Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies on Facebook.

We also have Facebook groups for our Breastfeeding Buddies in Glasgow, Lothian, Peterborough and Fenland and Southampton.

If you have any questions, concerns or need support – however you’re feeding your baby – you can speak to our friendly breastfeeding counsellors free of charge by calling our infant feeding line on 0300 330 0700. The line is open every day from 8am to midnight, including bank holidays.