E-newsletter for Cornwall Real Baby Milk Peer Supporters
Real Baby Milk CIC

LATEST News: Peer Support Conference - Saturday 18 October 2014 - watch our Website for more news on venue, content and timings!

Hello! Can we help your Group?

Real Baby Milk has been successful in gaining a pocket of funding from Cornwall Council Public Health to support Peer Support Groups in Cornwall for 6 months - this is great news and is, in part, due to all you lovely Peer Supporters who replied to our online surveys and collected lots of information from the women visiting your groups - Well done!

We are able to offer remote support i.e.via text, social media (Facebook page) and email.  The office is only open limited hours but we have been working on the Website to enhance the Group Support areas and are happy to be contacted by individual Peer Supporters with queries about how to make your Groups work better.  We are hoping to be able to offer some guidance on how to apply to small funding bodies for Grants to support your Group with resources etc.  We will also be updating the database of active Peer Supporters. 
We have also been asked to deliver a Conference for all Peer Supporters and mums interested in becoming Peer Supporters - watch the facebook page and RBM website for more details....

Training Update... knitted boobs and a competition

As a result of all your replies to Mary Gosling and lots of you who contacted your Children's Centre Managers about the lack of new Trained Peer Supporters, the Children's Centres Locality Managers commissioned 3 Training Courses which were held in Delaware CC (near Calstock), Pondhu CC (St Austell) and Troon (Camborne) during the spring/early summer.  We are starting to collect names of mums who are interested in becoming Peer Supporters NOW - even though we do not have any dates planned yet.  Please ask any mums interested to email: and we will let them have some information on the type of commitment needed, start the application process and add their names to our list for circulation when places becomes available.

Calling all Knitters (Nanas or others!)
We are currently building our stock of knitted boobs back up again by kind volunteers (Lesley's and Mary's mums) and we have some sensational colours - which should raise a smile from even the most tired mums!  If anyone would like to help out by knitting more (to use at your own group or for donation to another group) we do have a pattern which can be downloaded from our website - just follow the link - to our Sister newsletter and download a copy!  Any colours are welcome although a good contrast between the nipple and areola is best - so why not use up any bits and bobs of wool you (or your Nana) might have tucked away).

How about entering our competition ...while away those spare minutes (!) by counting up how many times we have used the words breastfeeding or boobs in this newsletter and you could win a RBM baby T-shirt as featured on our website.  Entries by email please to by Friday 12 September 2014.  In the event of a tie a draw to choose the successful winner will take place.  The winner will be notified by email. 

Younger Mums (24 and under) Training List of Interest

We recently ran a 4 week Level 2 Breastfeeding Peer Support course for a small group of younger mums which was very successful.  If you know of any younger mums who attend your groups and/or who you think might be interested in becoming Peer Supporters could you please ask them to email so that we can add their details to our List of Interest.  

If you haven't seen the ITV Westcountry clip view it here:
"I loved every minute of the course and am looking forward to gaining more experience and helping other young women that have been in my position.” younger mum, Penzance

The majority of the younger mums trained have gone on to support via their local groups - if your group is lucky enough to have a younger mum link peer supporter - don't forget to let your local Health Visitor/Midwifery Team know!

Cornwall BFI update

from Stephanie Heard – Infant Feeding Coordinator

The BFI emphasis has moved to being much more child focused and as such they are also looking at what support we are giving to mums and their babies who choose to formula feed encouraging more “responsive” bottle feeding, skin to skin, limiting the number of people who feed the baby and encouraging parents to consider the first feed as a breast feed.
  • RCHT Treliske Hospital is Fully Accredited and passed reaccreditation in May 2014
  • Cornwall Community (Health Visitor service) are going for Re-accreditation in September 2014.
  • Children Centres are going for Re-accreditation in October 2014

Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI)

Baby Friendly awards are based on a set of interlinking evidence-based standards for maternity, health visiting, neonatal and children’s centres services. These are designed to provide parents with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their baby and to feed their baby in ways which will support optimum health and development. Facilities implement the standards in stages over a number of years. At each stage they are externally assessed by UNICEF UK. When all the stages are passed they are accredited as Baby Friendly.
The Baby Friendly website has very useful research articles on breastfeeding which you can find here
or sign up to their newsletters here

Peer Support Update: Listening & Communication - Stephanie Heard, Infant Feeding Co-ordinator for Cornwall. 

Listening to mums....
Some women go into Breastfeeding Peer Support because they see it as a way towards a career in caring, for example, Midwifery.  Others go into Peer Support because they like the social opportunities it can offer for them and their children.  But the most common reasons that mums give for wanting to do this demanding role are that they want to help other mums, that they have received useful support themselves and they ‘want to give something back’.
Peer Supporters often describe themselves as ‘passionate’ about breastfeeding and this is what drives them to complete their training and to turn up at their local group week in and week out.  This passion for offering support and sharing experiences leads to Cornwall having one of the longest established and most influential voluntary Peer Support network in the UK.
Mums who use the service may seek support for a variety of reasons, but they are all likely to have one thing in common – a need to be listened to without fear of judgement or rejection.  Our society is very keen to offer new mums advice about what they ‘should’ be doing.  This ranges from well meaning enquiries about whether baby is ‘good’ or ‘contented’ or ‘sleeping through yet’ to the constant stream of advertising of products which claim to help baby to achieve all these requirements.
Breastfeeding Peer Supporters can confidently offer an alternative to this high pressure experience.  Simply listening and reflecting on experience with mums can feel like ‘doing nothing’, but it is this type of support which mums often find most useful.
 It is very important that families in the county know that any expectant mum and any mum who is doing any breastfeeding/giving any breastmilk AT ALL is welcome at a breastfeeding support group.  It seems that the things that mums worry about experiencing at a group centre on a feeling that they will be the only one ‘not doing it right’ or that they will be judged for the decisions they have made.
The feedback, which comes from mums who attend Peer Support groups all over the county, is that they enjoy the feeling of acceptance that goes with mother to mother support and that it is this that helps them to enjoy whatever breastfeeding that they do.  Please keep up the wonderful work you are doing with this, revisit the communication skills from the Peer Support training and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction to be gained from knowing that ‘just listening’ makes all the difference to mums and their babies.

If you would like to add anything to RBM Cornwall Groups' Newsletter please let me know: 

This could be photos of your Group, tips and things you have found helpful at your group or about your own Breastfeeding Experience.

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We are on Facebook, please visit our Real Baby Milk page or request to be added to the private Cornwall Peer Supporters Group by emailing
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Real Baby Milk a project of Pollenn CIC
5 Riverside House, Heron Way, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2XN
01872 260429