Baby cafe offers support

Rachel Hauser with Matthew and Lucy Harrison and their 11-day old baby, Austin.

Rachel Hauser with Matthew and Lucy Harrison and their 11-day old baby, Austin.

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A café serving-up confidence to breastfeeding mums has been saluted by a Birstall couple determined to give their son the healthiest start to life.

Parents Matthew and Lucy Harrison wanted their first-born, Austin, to be breast fed, but soreness while feeding was causing mum and baby severe distress – until the Batley Baby Café intervened.

Staffed by volunteers and supported by The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, the Baby Café is a nationwide community project encouraging mums to persist with breastfeeding even if they are having difficulties at first.

Breastfeeding Specialist Practitioner Rachel Hauser, said: “Breastfeeding is natural but doesn’t always come naturally to mums. We are here to make sure that mums have confidence in themselves and their milk supply.”

The café, in the Staincliffe and Healey Sure Start Centre, has proved so popular that people from as far away as Selby and Goole have attended.

Run one morning a week and supported by trained breastfeeding specialists, the Baby Café was recently presented with an award for ‘making a difference’ by community partnership, Locala.

The sessions also provide new parents with a chance to socialise with other mums, dads and grandparents.

“This is not just another mother and toddler group. Our door is always open and some of the most effective support we offer comes from mums who have been through similar problems themselves,” said Rachel.

“The Baby Café offers the ongoing support and expert advice to mothers who have chosen to breast feed. Benefits can include reducing the risks of future infections, less likelihood of your child developing conditions such as diabetes or obesity and a better bond between mother and baby. It also means not having to buy sterilising equipment, bottles and £10 tins of formula milk!”

Matthew and Lucy heard about the Baby Café through a friend. Matthew said he was surprised to discover that a lack of confidence was one of the biggest problems facing breastfeeding mums.

“What they need is advice, support and confidence which is what the Baby Café gives them,” he said.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is commissioned by Locala to run the café – which is open to parents across the North Kirklees area. To learn more, contact rachel.hauser@midyorks.nhs.uk or telephone 01924 288686.

The Staincliffe and Healey Sure Start Centre is located on Chestnut Avenue, Staincliffe, Batley.