e-newseltter for Cornwall Real Baby Milk Peer Supporters
April 2016

April 2016

Cornwall Peer Support Newsletter

Congratulations to Caroline, Beth, Kate, Michela, kayleigh, Amy, Lizzie and Heidi for completing the most recent Community Peer Support training course held in Launceston.  These Peer Supporters are now volunteering at the Callington, Bude and Bodmin groups.

Real Baby Milk Conference 2016 Bookings open.....

Real Baby Milk are really excited to announce that bookings are open for the conference which is being held on Sunday 25th September 2016 at St Erme Community Centre, minutes form the A30 in mid Cornwall.  Please contact the office if you need support in attending the conference, with regards to travel or child care arrangements.  Places are limited and free to Cornwall Peer Support volunteers, NHS and Cornwall County Council staff.  Click here to book.

Win 5 Cornwall Essential Guides 2015-16
Resources for your group!

The winner will be chosen from people who correctly answer the question: Go to page 20 of the  Cornwall Guide 2015/16 ed , can you identify the topic that relates to the updated Baby Friendly Initiative Standards?

To enter email your answer to with "Cornwall Guide Competition" as the subject. 
Closing Date is 29th May 2016.

Penrice Birth Unit and Breastfeeding Support

By Lesley Ibbotson, Hospital Peer Supporter and NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor.


Recently in my role as an NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor I was part of a ‘tour’ around the Penrice Birth Centre.  I thought it might be useful to for peer supporters to share more about the unit and its role in supporting women with feeding issues so I have adapted an account of our visit by Denise, one of my NCT Antenatal Teacher colleagues.   We have also added a section from Alice Collyer, one of the mums involved in the fundraising, if anyone would like to help with the fundraising please contact her via the Cornwall Peer Supporter facebook group.

The Unit has recently been redecorated and all carpets have been replaced with new easy-clean floors throughout.  The Unit is now fundraising and, with the help of some local mums (and peer supporters) who have fundraising and interior decor backgrounds, is trying to get charity status.

On their wish list are: peanut ball, blinds, bed covers, small fridges, pictures for walls.

We could not see in the pool room as it was occupied, but this now has a Bradbury couch in the room as well as the pool. If you would like to see what a Bradbury couch looks like click on the link below.

The smaller room on the unit still has the corner bath and both rooms have the hospital delivery beds pushed to one side to make more space for women to labour.

They have a couple TENS machines, tv, stereo with bluetooth, birth balls and one birthing stool (low like a loo seat).

The large room is now a Day Assessment area for checks, monitoring, and blood tests that do not need urgent attention from a doctor.

The two smaller side rooms near the entrance are now postnatal rooms with reclining couches for partners to stay in overnight. Partners are not fed but shops are a short car ride away. These rooms also have en-suite loo/shower rooms.

As we know the Peer Support Breastfeeding clinic has stopped due to a combination of reasons but Peer Supporters should be aware that mums can still ring for breastfeeding support and can go into unit if it is quiet.  Mums often do that and go home for the night, even if they return again, this means that several feeds can be observed and mums can benefit from feeling less hurried.

The birth rate is approx 330 a year with a transfer rate of 40% for first time mothers and 18% for second and subsequent babies. This is mostly for 'delay' in labour.  Women can transfer to Penrice from RCHT Treliske for breastfeeding support but this is not officially encouraged as there is not equity on rest the of the county.  Hospital Peer Supporters, particularly, should be aware that this can still be requested.

Additional notes by Alice Collyer

Penrice Birth Centre is undergoing an exciting, long overdue and much deserved makeover, instigated by the staff and with the help of members of the local community.
So far the unit has had a fresh lick of paint, new flooring and a general tidy up, but next comes the really exciting part, injecting some colour and personality. The aim is to improve the overall experience of those coming to the centre, throughout the time they will need the service, be that antenatally, at the birth of their child or postnatally.
Approximately £500 has been raised so far, an amazing £380 of that thanks to a very successful cake sale last month, kindly supported by many local parents and members of the community.
The artist Eloise Renouf has donated some beautiful art work which will really help to bring some life and interest to the surroundings, a wonderful focus for labouring women and their partners. There is a lot more work to be done, but the ball is rolling we’re all very excited to be involved.


UNICEF Baby Friendly 2 day training -  A reflection

By Hanna Holcroft

Peer Support Coordinator and Trainer for Cornwall and Peer Support volunteer - Community and Hospital

I set off on my journey to London with an equal mix of excitement and trepidation… I am passionate about keeping myself updated professionally, so I was incredibly excited about being able to attend such a prestigious course. I haven’t been separated from my children for more than a day / evening when working. Lolah, nearly 3 and a half, still breastfeeds at least 2 / 3 times a day… so I did feel a significant amount of concern regarding how we would cope for three days and three bed times apart. I needn’t have worried about them, everyone coped marvelously! In addition to that, the course was everything that I could have hoped for and more!

There were various topics that were discussed, and several of them were particularly interesting and challenging. There was considerable focus on the UNICEF Standards relating to mixed feeding and maximising breastmilk.  It is a subject area that historically, has been a challenge for me. I have had to step out of my comfort zone and re consider my thoughts around the use of formula. I have always been pro breastfeeding and very anti formula companies, but I was also rather anti the use of formula too. Working for Real Baby Milk and having access to the various viewpoints of experienced colleagues took me on the first steps of this journey.  I have continued to question my beliefs and  values and look at what underpinned them. The conclusion that I have come to is that we (us mothers) have been cleverly pitched against one another, and our confidence undermined. We don’t yet live in a society where all women can freely access the support that they need, (from close female friends and family, as we live so far apart with limited support networks) to see out their breastfeeding goals.  What we have also been shown through the studies undertaken by the World Health Organisation and Unicef, is that allowing a mother the freedom and support to make the right choices for herself and her family is important.  This contact happening antenatally has been shown to increase engagement and often results in breastfeeding continuing for far longer than it might have done if that support wasn’t there! We have learnt that with information, guidance and supporting mixed feeding, we are able to maximise and increase the time that these babies spend at the breast. Through doing this both mother and baby can take advantage of those wonderful health benefits, both physical and emotional – the more success that mother has and the more supported she feels, often means that she will continue to breastfeed that child and breastfeed subsequent children.. I don’t feel that we can put a value on this…

Two things became particularly apparent to me whilst I was training,  the first was to celebrate the opportunity to feel really excited about the level of knowledge that I have around breastfeeding and supporting mothers and their families. It’s not often we get the chance to be self congratulatory… but I did experience an overwhelming sense of pride that the avid reading and consumption of breastfeeding research and  data has paid off.  I know… a lot about breastfeeding! What I also learnt was that even with my constant search for information and understanding, there is still a huge amount that I have to learn.  I know a lot about the physiology of the breast and supporting mums, but information and ideas change quickly.  Concepts are fine tuned and ideas expanded and cemented and with that in mind, it was clear that as a volunteer and breastfeeding advocate I have a responsibility, obligation and a commitment to ensure that I am open to these changes and ideas. Training keeps my knowledge base fresh and up to date, it also challenges my way of thinking… and that is in my opinion a very healthy thing!



Recent research from UNICEF Baby Friendly has resulted in the  launch of  "Call to action".
This is to encourage governments "to take 4 key steps to create a supportive, enabling environment for women who want to breastfeed"  Take a look at these links for more details Call to Action and  UNICEF Baby Friendly

Spotlight on the next Hospital Peer Support Course in June 2016 - Please click here for details of how to apply.

Have you had a baby or babies on a neonatal unit?  We would like to hear from you!

NNU survey 
 Closing date 27th May 2016

As part of our work to support all families get the help they need to breastfeed/give breastmilk we have been working with the Nutrition Team on the neonatal unit at RCHT Treliske to help them prepare for new Unicef Baby Friendly standards and new facilities(!)

If you follow the Unicef Baby Friendly news many of you will know that there are new Baby Friendly Standards for neonatal units. The neonatal team at Treliske have applied for a grant to help embed these new standards in care and the great news is that they are through to the interview stage - a massive achievement in itself as 37% of all NNUs in the country applied for the grant - so your input is especially needed now!

The big emphasis of the new standards, which were launched at Unicef Neonatal conference last May, is on supporting parents and families to be partners in care for their baby both whilst they are on the NNU but also in the early days, weeks and months at home.

As we reported before in our May 2015 newsletter, the science tells us how important both the closeness and involvement of parents is for a baby’s development including supporting mums to breastfeed and/or give breastmilk.  Any of you who have spent time on the NNU at Treliske will know how the facilities are not ideal for helping parents get involved with their baby BUT there are now plans for the NNU to move to larger accommodation (Cheers…!)

In preparation for the move, and in order to help to the NNU embed the new standards of care we got together with the Dellen Prescott, the nutrition lead at the NNU, to design a questionnaire about your experience of a stay on any NNU - what was good about it, what could have made it better etc.  So if you would like to help us please complete the survey - you don’t have to been on the RCHT Treliske unit to help, any experience on a NNU will be helpful as we are interested in gathering information on anything you found supported you and your family.

We hope to analyse and share the insights from the survey to help the NNU to make the experience a better one for all families and their babies and will let you know the results through our newsletter and facebook page.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Mary Gosling
(Project and Business Manager)

Hanna Holcroft
(Peer Support Coordinator)
07462 990 485

Georgie Watson
(Team Admin)

RBM Office 
01872 260429


Meet the Team
New Team Admin  Georgie Watson
I'm Georgie, I'm 29 and originally from Macclesfield in Cheshire. I met my husband in 2008, working in Val d'Isere France. We continued to work together around Europe, until we married in 2013 and quickly became pregnant with our 1st child.
Myles was born in January 2014, 7 weeks premature at Taunton Musgrove Hospital. His unexpected arrival fueled my determination to Breastfeed and I spent the early weeks of his life in hospital reading anything I could get my hands on. During Myles' 1st year we lived in North Devon, we felt increasingly isolated and I struggled to find many good Mother & Baby groups.
In January 2015 we moved back to Cornwall, to be closer to my husbands family and start a hospitality business together. I quickly found Breastfriends in Hayle & Camborne and I felt very welcomed at both. I was relieved to find a Breastfeeding community and attended both groups on a weekly basis.
With my experience of Breastfeeding a premature baby and the wonderful support I received in hospital, it felt natural to give back what I received. I trained to be a Community Peer Supporter in July 2015 and have just recently trained as a Hospital Peer Supporter.
I love volunteering and being part of a strong community, the friendships and confidence I have gained are invaluable to me & Myles.
This led me to apply for the recent vacancy at Real Baby Milk and I was delighted to be offered the position. I am already really enjoying my role as Admin Assistant and look forward to getting to know more about the other volunteers & groups across Cornwall.
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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Copyright © 2016 Pollenn CIC All rights reserved.
Real Baby Milk a project of Pollenn CIC
5 Riverside House, Heron Way, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2XN
01872 260429