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

Happy Ist Birthday to Sherborne support group
From Bumps to Boobs

Mums, babies, midwives, CC staff, peer supporters and the press celebrated the success of the Sherborne group since it was started a year ago by Hollie Barber and Rachel Beckingham-Smith.  It was a wonderful party with everyone reflecting on the fantastic  support and friendship they have received over the year.  CONGRATULATIONS!

Peer Supporter Emma Flory-Callow made an exceptional  bumps to boobs cake


Seven learners successfully completed their training in Swanage recently. Congratulations to Ilze, Ionela, Kym, Laura, Naomi, Claire and Angela. They will make fabulous peer supporters in Swanage and Bovington.  We wish them well. Many thanks also to Jane Young, a local experienced peer supporter who joined us for some of the sessions and shared her wise words of wisdom.

And  thank you to Ionela for our fabulous celebration cake at the end of the training – I’m sensing a theme here .....peer supporting and cake really do go well together!

The next training will be starting in Somerford on Tuesday 4 November.

In Jan/Feb 2015 plans are to hold training in North Dorset – if you know of anyone who might be interested please ask them to contact me

Dorset Peer Supporter Facebook Page

Many of you have signed up to this page

I hope that you are finding it a useful resource and a helpful way to connect with other groups and peer supporters across Dorset  -  if you have any suggestions as to how to develop this group please let me know


4th Annual Real Baby Milk conference Saturday 7th February 2015 Dorford Centre Dorchester

A reminder to save the date for the annual conference – we are thrilled that Kate Evans author of The Food of Love will be joining us.


All groups should have received printed copies of the RBM Mums Survey.  Please can you get as many mums as possible to complete these surveys and return them via your group representative by 1st December 2015.

The Peer Supporter Survey is online here  please do take a few minutes to complete this.

Baby and Me Beaminster - UPDATE

Sadly Beaminster group made the difficult decision to close last week. The group launched in 2009 and grew over the years thanks to the  commitment from Emma Gale, Tammy Dommett, Sam Bugler and Sarah Vaughan. We hope that when the time is right - it can be reignited! Here is Peer Supporter Kate Barnett’s post from last week:

“Morning ladies....sad day today, it's the last session of the Beaminster Baby and Me group! It's with regret that we can't continue it at the present time, but with a few of us Peer Supporters returning to work over the coming months (boo!) or having other commitments such as college, we are unable to carry on at the moment. We feel the time is right to stop now when we actually don't have too many mums attending currently anyway!

Hopefully things will change in the future, but for now the Bridport group is very much still going strong and hope that we see lots of you there.

On a personal note, I've loved the Beaminster group! It was the group I attended as a new mum with Orla, and the amazing Hannah Deacon and Sarah Hewitson amongst others made me feel incredibly welcome. I've met many mums and made lifelong friends through that group, and it's that love and support that inspired me to train as a Peer Supporter myself. I was thrilled to be able to return second time round with Iris. And massive thanks to Lindsey Swatridge-Hyde who's been doing this for many a year now, and will be popping into Bridport group periodically

To all the wonderful mums who've attended and supported Beaminster over the years, thank you all. We'll be there with cake today to give it a good send off!!! Xxx”
If you would like to add anything to RBM Dorset 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.

Supporting Mums through Social Media, Text & Email
Lesley Ibbotson NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor

This article is an opportunity to think about the way we communicate with mums and is designed to open this topic up for discussion on the Dorset Group page – let us know what you think, what you have found works well and maybe something which you suggest others might avoid!  The way we communicate has changed so much in a very short time and before we open up the conversation to you about some of the practicalities of communicating in this way,  it might be interesting to think about the challenges and Opportunities ..

There are many opportunities to engage with mums using electronic means and this is part of its appeal to us all as peer supporters.
  • It is accessible and although not exactly free, its cost is spread across the general ‘technology’ budget for a lot of homes.  It can be seen as an ‘essential’ for younger parents and so the technology needed (smart phones or tablets/computers) are afforded before other things which an older generation might consider more important. 
  • Supporting mums in this way can be across a wider socio-economic/age group than previously possible if relying on personal contact alone.
  • It could be argued that getting discussions going via social media can normalize breastfeeding.
  • It certainly gives us an opportunity to be pro-active in doing so.
  • It is helpful to be able to post links and pictures to illustrate something we are trying to get across so can help those of us who ‘learn’ in a combination of different styles.
  • The relative anonymity of electronic contact can be freeing to mums and so they can be less reticent about how they are feeling – this can also work on the flip side and present challenges to us and how we support.
  • The act of writing something down in a text or email can have a reflective power, which enables that mum to have some insight into her concern or problem.
  • Less Intrusive?
In terms of electronic contact with mums challenges certainly exist:
  • Our boundaries – where are they when we have access to our communications at all times?
  • Do we get more ‘crisis’ contacts where because it is so easy to contact people at all times of the day/night?
  • What about the pressure to reply? Can this pressure to reply be within us? Does the mum expect a reply to a contact late at night or is she just asking while she has the time to put her thoughts together?
  • How can we manage that expectation of reply?
  • Is there a generational gap?
  • Loss of all our navigational aids – tone of voice, body language
  • Can we read between the lines or misinterpret?
  • How do we replace the loss of those aids? What about the language we use?
  • More intrusive?
Does your Peer Support Group have a Social Media/Electronic communication ‘guide’ – some of the larger charities have developed their own guidance and it may be possible to get hold of a copy to start the discussion about how Dorset Peer Supporters want to appear when using electronic means to communicate with mums.
Revisiting some of our Peer Support training can help when thinking about how to respond to mums posts for help & support
  • Take care to accept the mum’s feelings – criticising or judging will not help her
  • Share information rather than give advice – signpost and/or suggest
  • Separate our feelings/beliefs/experience from the mums
  • ‘Listen’ to any negativity about her experience with others – accept that experience and offer alternatives in a positive way without agreeing with or undermining the other support – which might have been misinterpreted.
Finally, a thought… it can sometimes be daunting to write a reply to something which is complicated and you may have many questions you could ask but, if a mum has chosen to contact you this way, it might be very important to at least initially reply to her using the same method rather than asking her to phone/visit.  This may be the way she is comfortable asking the question and this might be your only chance to support her with your experience and friendship …
Do you know of any younger mums (24 and under) who have had/are having a positive experience overall with Breastfeeding?  If you think they might be interested in training as a Peer Supporter please ask them to contact or phone/text jane on 07805 678804 for details of future courses

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