February 2015

Dorset Peer Support Newsletter

Welcome to this short newsletter which highlights some or the upcoming changes to the Dorset Peer Support Service and includes some useful information on Vasospasm and Mammory Constriction Syndrome.

Families and Babies.

New support for Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth Peer Supporters.

By  Marie Longworth, Operations Manager for Families and Babies.

Please can I take this opportunity to introduce myself and the brand new service for families, which is launching in your area to support breastfeeding Mothers.

As you are aware Public Health Dorset has commissioned Families and Babies (FAB), a breastfeeding peer support charity, to provide breastfeeding support to all women across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset commencing on 1st April 2016. Leading the team of volunteers will be four local coordinators in paid roles who will be responsible for the recruitment, training, support and supervision of all volunteers across the three areas along with a paid administrator.

FAB’s aim is to build upon the excellent community peer support model currently being delivered across the Children’s Centre's, offering support within breastfeeding groups and antenatal settings. We wish to widen the support by having trained peer supporters on the hospital wards, working closely in partnership with Dorset and Poole Hospital Trusts. We will aim to offer a proactive service for Mothers in priority areas allowing FAB to make contact within 48 hours of mothers being discharged from hospital, to signpost to their local community support groups.

FAB supporters are Mothers who have a passion for breastfeeding and have completed accredited peer support training which adheres to BFI standards, ensuring they have good skills and knowledge. We would like to work together with all partners ensuring FAB peer supporters are integrated within maternity services working in close partnership alongside midwifery, health visiting and children’s centre teams, ensuring referral processes are in place.

We will be attending the local Volunteer Annual Conference, organised by Jane Thrift from Real Baby Milk, on Saturday 27th February at the Dorford Centre, Dorchester. This will give FAB an opportunity to meet the existing volunteers from the Dorset side and possibly an opportunity for us to meet volunteers from Bournemouth and Poole, if they attend on the day. However, we will be holding open days/information stands across all 3 areas (dates TBC) and very much look forward to meeting you all in person.

Marketing flyers will be produced and cascaded to families and partners to ensure all know how to refer into the service going forward.

We will contact key partners individually to discuss the mobilisation plans including our recruitment process and to arrange communication contact with the existing volunteers.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email and in the interim please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require more information.

We are really excited to be working in across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset and are looking forward to working together in partnership with you all to support breastfeeding families.

Vasospasm and associated breast pain.

By Jane Thrift.
As the weather turned chillier I was thinking about breastfeeding mothers who suffer from Raynaud’s Syndrome, where as a result of exposure to cold or stress there is a sudden narrowing of the blood vessels or vasospasm which can cause the nipple to blanch or turn white- this is known as vasoconstriction.  As the blood returns to the nipple it can cause a burning sensation, intense throbbing or shooting pain deep within the breast which can be severely debilitating. For more information, images and self help measures please click here to read this article by Wendy Jones at the Breastfeeding Network. 

I looked into this and came across the term Mammary Constriction Syndrome (MCS). As an explanation for deep breast pain, related to vasospasm and vasoconstriction, Edith Kernerman, IBCLC in Dr Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding fully describes the condition. Edith explains â€œMany breastfeeding mothers complain of having breast pain. We know from much clinical experience and a recent study done at the International Breastfeeding Centre, that almost all of these complaints of breast pain (and/or nipple pain) are due to how the baby latches on to the breast. The latching difficulties include positioning and latch and tongue tie, which can lead to a secondary problem of vasoconstriction and vasospasm."


Vasoconstriction is the tightening of blood vessels, and this can cause a lack of blood flow and oxygen. Pain results and the mother will respond to pain with tension. For example, a Mother who feels the latch is painful may tighten her shoulders, clench her teeth, etc. This response can cause tightening of the muscles in the chest, shoulders & neck, leading to squeezing of the blood vessels that go to the nipples and breast. This results in a deep, sharp, shooting or dull pain. The pain may be a combination of itchy, tingling, aching or knife-like, burning or freezing, throbbing or constant sensations. Vasoconstriction may also affect the nipples as well as the breast and cause the nipples to change colour or blanch and may cause a cold or hot burning sensation of the nipples, as in Raynaud’s syndrome.

Many mothers describe the pain as so debilitating they must lie down after a feeding, or are ready to quit breastfeeding altogether. We had often thought these symptoms were a sign of yeast (Candida). We now attribute these symptoms to what we have named mammary constriction syndrome (MCS), a cluster of symptoms caused by the process described above.

To treat MCS we use a massage technique called pectoral muscle massage that is very easy for the mother to do herself. It involves rubbing the chest muscles (not the breast) quite vigorously about 45-60 seconds on the affected side. There are four places to massage: 1) above the breast against the chest wall; 2) between her breasts just to the side of the breast bone; 3) under the breast against her rib cage; 4) on the side of her body, beside her breast, against the rib cage. One of these four areas is likely to be the ideal spot for her to relieve her pain. We also urge the mother to be aware of hunching over the baby and/or carrying heavy objects including car seats. We recommend massage therapy to help ease tensions in the upper torso. Many mothers have success doing gentle pectoral muscle stretching, just before a feeding.”

A very useful article on Mammary Constriction Syndrome with links to other resources can be found here


Across Dorset there is a network of Children’s Centres which provide support, information and a welcoming place to meet other breastfeeding mums through their breastfeeding support groups.

Peer Support Conference 2016

Saturday 27th February at Dorford Centre Dorchester with poet Hollie McNish, who has written a memoir of parenthood called "Nobody Told Me"- a collection of poems and stories taken from her diaries.

Infant feeding Coordinator Ellen Simon and Lactation Consultant Elizabeth Carter will also be involved.

Don’t forget to register - please follow this link to confirm your place.

Win a Ready Steady Eat DVD!

We have one copy to give away - normal RRP is £9.95

The winner will be chosen from people who correctly answer the question: what are the three signs of readiness for solid foods?

To enter email your answer toadmin@realbabymilk.orgwith Dorset DVD Competition" as the subject. 
Closing Date is 18th March 2016.
Congratulations and welcome to our latest Peer Supporters

Leanne, Melanie, Alexandra, Kirsty, Lorna and Jackie.
 They will be volunteering at Christchurch, Dorchester, Blandford, Littlemoor, Wareham and Bovington groups.

Please email any details of mums from your groups that might be interested in training.
Lancet's statement

This is a link to the recent article relating to low Breastfeeding rates.  It is long but important.



Focus on Thrush

This is another interview with Helen Shanahan and Stephanie Heard, Cornwall Infant Feeding Leads. 
 Follow this link to Audio Boom 

Have you joined the closed Facebook Group?

This is a chance for you to connect and share experiences with Peer Supporters across Dorset.

Find the Facebook Group here and click "Join Group"

Contribute to the Dorset Newsletter

If you have any local news stories or information you would like to include in the next newsletter, please email
Mary Gosling
(Project Manager & Admin)

Jane Thrift
(Trainer & Peer Support Coordinator)

RBM Office 
01872 260429
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