e-newseltter for Cornwall Real Baby Milk Peer Supporters
June 2015

Celebrating, Raising Funds, and Building their Profile

St Austell's Breastfeeding Group

Welcome to all Cornwall Peer Supporters - important information - please read!

We have been very busy contacting lots of you and have updated a large number of new names to our newsletter database - although our work is ongoing in relation to contacting you all, we have not had chance to speak to everyone yet.  It is very important that if you receive this newsletter and DO NOT WANT to receive it or be involved in the Cornwall Peer Support network that you UNSUBSCRIBE by emailing Hanna Holcroft our Cornwall Peer Support Co-ordinator with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line on


Peer Supporter Updates: Frequently Asked Questions

We have had quite a few queries about Peer Support updates and thought we would add some information about them to this newsletter. The exact combination of update is still subject to change and review but here goes ...

Why do I need to update?

The primary reason for Peer Supporters to update their knowledge and skills is to ensure the safety and well being of mums, babies and Peer Supporters themselves.

We all share the aim of wishing to help and support mums and babies in their feeding.

The aim of updating Peer Supporters is to provide the best standard of Peer Support throughout Cornwall. This will give assurance to the Community Health teams that the Breastfeeding groups have Peer Supporters who are not only trained, but updated and supported in their very valuable work with mums and babies.

The UNICEF Baby Friendly standard is for Peer Supporters be updated every 12 months.

What if I don't want to update my knowledge and skills?

It is very likely in the near future, if Peer Supporters choose not to update their knowledge and skills, that they will not be able to peer support at Community Groups and similar settings.  We want to work with you to ensure that everyone who wishes to remain supporting at these groups continues to be able to do so.

I wanted to update but the venue and dates didn't fit in with me. Will there be any more?

The face-to-face updates were delivered as one-off opportunities for peer supporters who had not managed to access any of the other update options since qualifying/ or within 12 months of training.  There will not be any further face-to-face update sessions but Peer Supporters may access the Unicef 1 day training subject to certain conditions - please see below.  We are currently developing online update training which will be be part of the mix offered to you to enable you to keep up to date and this will cover key topics.

What is counted as an update?

Real Baby Milk are working on offering a flexible approach along with the Children’s Centres and Health Teams - Peer Supporters are busy people and already commit amazing amounts of time to volunteering.  The following mix of support and updates are currently being considered to count towards that team approach:

  • Face to Face 2 hour update (now finished) or

  • Attending a Breastfeeding (Peer Support) Conference or

  • Unicef 1 day training (Knowledge spa) or

  • Online update training and/or

  • Registering through a link with Real Baby Milk that you have read at least 3 of the 6 e-newsletters produced and sign up for the free UNICEF research updates

In addition the Children’s Centres will need Peer Supporters to:

  • attend Supervision with Children Centre Cluster Managers

  • complete their Safeguarding training (now online) - this needs updating every 3 years. 

Hanna Holcroft who is the Peer Support Co-ordinator for Cornwall is making contact with any  Peer Supporters in the County who have not been able to attend the CC supervision and during this contact you can let her know of any other relevant training or event you have attended as this may count too.

Why do Real Baby Milk need to know what support and updates I have received?

Real Baby Milk are working with the Children Centres to support Peer Supporters.  We are collating a record of Peer Supporters updates to enable us to work with the children centres to provide the best support for Peer Supporters and identify any gaps.

Who can attend the UNICEF Baby Friendly 1 day training?

Peer Supporters who have regularly been Peer Supporting for 6 to 12 months or more can attend this 1 day training at the Knowledge spa.  They need to email to book on. There is a pre online part to the course and it is an opportunity to reflect on practice since first training.


The Real Baby Milk Conference

A Volunteer's Perspective!

by Hanna Holcroft

I had been actively volunteering at the Truro Breast-Friends group, for almost two years when I was invited to attend the Real Baby Milk conference. I attended with a mixture of feelings, mostly because the six months proceeding this, I had watched the breastfeeding group's slow demise with no real idea of how to turn things around. 

I have since learnt that this has been the experience of many breastfeeding groups. We watched the slow withdrawal of key aspects of our service! One by one, we lost our play worker, weighing scales, health visitor and then finally came issues with parking. It was deeply frustrating to see the numbers of mums dwindle to nothing, and sit waiting week after week... hopeful that mums would attend!

I attended the conference feeling unmotivated and without a clear idea on how to move things forward at our group! 

I left the conference feeling completely different, motivated and positive about the future. Various things happened that day! I met with a room full of like minded and dedicated women, who like me are passionate about breastfeeding. I learnt a lot about services in Cornwall, other peer support groups, the true worth of breastfeeding peer supporters actively supporting in their communities! For the first time, I really understood my role as a peer supporter and the value that I have. I hadn't realised before that as volunteers, we have ownership of our groups... we have the facility (in partnership) to implement changes, raise money, raise awareness and delegate within our teams!

The result... the experience was incredibly empowering! I went away and talked to the other lovely ladies at the Truro breastfeeding group. Feeling fired up, we spent time analysing what we could do to make changes. We asked for meetings with our then Children's Centre manager and discussed our concerns and hopes for the future of the group. Within a few small months we had changed venue, day and time... and once again we have a flourishing breastfeeding group, that also offers all of the services we once had and more!

The outcome of this has been a real reminder that - communication works! There is real value in the work that we do as volunteers! That making time to update our skills and knowledge base, can lead to really positive changes on so many levels, both personally and for the groups we support.

Vitamin D and Breastfeeding

Information from your Cornwall Infant Feeding Lead

by Stephanie Heard

The Department of Health recommends that all pregnant and breastfeeding women take a daily supplement of ten micrograms of Vitamin D.  This vitamin regulates the amount of calcium in the body which helps keep bones and teeth strong and healthy. There are some food sources of Vitamin D - oily fish, eggs, fortified foods such as margarine and  breakfast cereals - but the best natural source is sunlight.  It is because our modern lifestyles may limit our sun exposure, that we may become deficient in Vitamin D and thus require a supplement to prevent deficiency in ourselves and our babies.

The Department of Health also recommends that children between the ages of six months and five years take a daily supplement containing Vitamins A, C and D unless they are drinking at least 500ml of formula milk per day.  Infant formula has these vitamins added to it.

In some circumstances breastfed babies may need to start Vitamin D supplements prior to six months.  This may be of benefit if mum did not take supplements in her pregnancy and so her baby might be more at risk of deficiency if not supplemented.  If mums are unsure about any aspect of vitamin supplementation, they can be encouraged to discuss with their Health Visitor.

The Department of Health runs the ‘Healthy Start’ scheme to encourage uptake of vitamins and consumption of fruit, vegetables and milk.  The scheme is available to families who are in receipt of certain benefits.  Those eligible receive vouchers to spend on fruit, vegetables and /or milk, currently worth  Â£3.10 per week in pregnancy, £6.20 for baby’s first year and back to £3.10 up until baby’s fourth birthday. The vouchers also entitle families to free vitamins for mum and baby and these vitamins can be collected from Children’s Centres or from Health Visitors.

Peer Supporters can raise awareness of the importance of Vitamin D and signpost families to further information from their Health Visitor team.

Update on Penrice Drop-in BF Support Group

Important information for Peer Supporters

There is an important update for Peer Supporters who might refer mums to this fantastic group at Penrice Hospital in St Austell please click here to read


Mama's Milk Boobnanza!

A local support group for breastfeeding mums in St Austell celebrated with tea and cake at their aptly named boobnanza last week in a bid to raise funds.

Mums old and new to the group, Mamas Milk, came together for an extended session on June 3rd for a raffle, cakes and crafts. Pondhu children’s centre, who host the weekly drop in group, was filled with mums, babies, mums to be and toddlers for the celebration.

The sunny weather on the day provided a fantastic opportunity for crafts outside, whilst an abundance of cakes, along with vegetable sticks, hummus and other treats, was enough to make anyone’s mouth water. The raffle offered up a range of prizes from vouchers to chocolate and baby clothes.

Mamas milk is a weekly drop in group for mums who breastfeed and mums to be who are planning to breastfeed, older siblings are also welcome to the group. Running from 9.30am to 11.30am every Wednesday the group is led by trained peer supporters who are on hand to provide advice and support where needed. Tea and biscuits are also available along with a variety of toys for the children.

The group is one of many where the volunteers are supported by Real Baby Milk which is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to work with Volunteer Peer Supporters to offer support to mums and babies throughout Cornwall and beyond. Details and contacts for Mamas Milk can be found on their Facebook page or by visiting

Introducing Hanna...

Hanna Holcroft is the new Peer Support Coordinator for Cornwall!
Follow this link to view her introductory letter to Peer Support Volunteers:

Breasts Abroad!

Another pic of knitted Breasts out and about, this time on the Isle of Wight ferry!

If you have any 'breasts abroad' photos, we'd love to see them, email

Great Expectations

Peer Supporters who have been volunteering regularly for 3 months and are keen to be involved in the delivery of Great Expectations need to access a two hour training session.  If you think you have the capacity to support the Great Expectations delivery then please get in touch with Hanna

Boob Cake!

Have you baked one yet?

Truro Training

We were very pleased to be able to welcome Brian O'Neill, Public Health Consultant's for Cornwall Council to make certificate presentations at the Truro Training Jan/Feb 2015 

Breasts Abroad!

Breasts in Venice! or Tette a Venezia!

We'd love to see your knitted breasts photos, email

Infant Feeding UNICEF 1 day training

The next Infant Feeding UNICEF 1 day training is on 15th July 2015 at the Knowledge Spa.

Any comments or feedback on the newsletter are always appreciated

To comment please email

Contribute to the Cornwall Newsletter

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

Hanna Holcroft
(Peer Support Coordinator)
07462 990 485

RBM Office 
01872 260429


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Real Baby Milk a project of Pollenn CIC
5 Riverside House, Heron Way, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2XN
01872 260429