Bosom Buddies pilot to be extended after proving successful in helping Ipswich mums to breastfeed for longer
PUBLISHED: 10:30 17 December 2014 | UPDATED: 12:34 17 December 2014
A new breastfeeding support service is set to be rolled out in the new year to help mums across Suffolk, health chiefs confirmed last night.
The initiative is expected to begin in east Suffolk between January to March, replacing the Bosom Buddies pilot in Ipswich, before taking over from the west Suffolk service in April.
The news comes after figures revealed that in 2013/14, 73% of mothers in Suffolk were breastfeeding at birth, but this fell to just 37% at the six to eight week check.
Alan Murray, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “Breastfeeding contributes to the health of mother and child in both the short and long term and provides all the nutrients a baby needs.
“It is the healthiest way to feed babies and exclusive breastfeeding (feeding only breast milk) is recommended for the first six months, continuing for as long as the mother and baby wish, whilst gradually introducing a more varied diet.”
The contract for the service is currently out to tender and it is due to run until March 2016, with the possibility of a year extension depending on the availability of funding.
It will cover all of Suffolk excluding Waveney, which already has a service in place, offering support to all mums in the county and a home visiting service to mothers in the areas of highest concern.
News that a new support service is due to be launched will be welcomed by many mums, particularly those who have been using Bosom Buddies.
The pilot initiative, which was based in part of Ipswich, has proven to be a big success, with some users expressing their disappointment that it is due to come to an end.
But Jacqui Stronach, a tutor and supervisor at the Breastfeeding network, the organisation behind the project, said the aim was to “test the waters” and see how affective breastfeeding peer support is.
She added: “It is sad that it is coming to an end but we want to celebrate the brilliant work that has been done.”