Mums' plea to save breastfeeding support service

Mums from the St Cutherbert's Breastfeeding Group are angry that Blackpool Council have cut funding for breastfeeding support workers from the Star Buddies scheme.  Pictured front is Sam Davies holding Elliott-Rae Langford.

Mums from the St Cutherbert's Breastfeeding Group are angry that Blackpool Council have cut funding for breastfeeding support workers from the Star Buddies scheme. Pictured front is Sam Davies holding Elliott-Rae Langford.

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Blackpool mums are pleading for a decision to axe breastfeeding support services to be reversed.


From next month Blackpool Council will stop funding for the volunteer-led Star Buddies scheme which provides help for new mothers.
The council says funding will be transferred to the health visitor service.
But a group of South Shore mothers are concerned groups will close as a result of the decision and the number of people able to receive support will dramatically drop.
Sam Dawes, who is a regular at the breastfeeding group which meets at St Cuthbert’s and Palatine Children’s centre in Lightwood Avenue.
She said the Star Buddies gave her vital support when she needed it the most.
Sam, 34, said: “My daughter lost a lot of weight by four weeks old and I was devastated.
“I’ve had a lot of support from the team either over the phone, face to face at my home or within the breastfeeding group.
“At a time when it’s so easy just to give up they gave me the confidence and reassurance I needed to keep going.”
Blackpool Council insists support will continue but funding will be directed towards its health visitor service.
Dr Arif Rajpura, Director of Public Health, said: “The welfare of pregnant women, new mothers and their babies remains a high priority.
“For a number of years in Blackpool ‘Star Buddies’ volunteer breast feeding peer support services have provided extra support with breastfeeding advice and information.
“However, following a recent review of health visiting services it was agreed that additional investment would be made in the universal health visiting service already available.
“As a result of this change pregnant women and new mothers will receive more visits from qualified health care personnel who will ensure that women continue to receive expert infant feeding support and advice.
“Given this investment in a better universal service a decision was made not to renew our contract with the Star Buddies service.”
Helen Marie Hill, 36, from Moss House Road in South Shore, is another mum who has concerns over the loss of the service.
She said: “I think there is still a large divide between breast feeding and formula feeding and without the support from start buddies, this will only get worse.
“ I was tired, frustrated and struggling to breastfeed my first daughter and was grateful for the support I had from the star buddies and I continued to breastfeed until she was around 14 months old.
"I thought this time round I would be an expert, but all babies are different and each experience is different too and I have been up against different challenges and once again the star buddies have been there to help me.”
Cathryn Parkinson, 27, from Kirkham said: “If the breastfeeding rates drop due to the lack of support its only going increase the rates of health problems such as childhood obesity and ovarian cancer, inevitably leading to huge costs for the NHS.”