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Save Exmouth Bosom Buddies

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In Exmouth (Devon, UK) the County Council have publicised their plans to cut funding to the breastfeeding support group: Bosom Buddies. Bosom Buddies is an award winning weekly drop-in group for all breastfeeding mums in Exmouth, with support available from trained volunteers and Children’s Centre staff. It is a well established and well run group, which has integrated well with health visitors and midwives to provide this important service.The group started in 2009 and has helped hundreds of families to successfully breastfeed their babies.

DCC currently fund the group via the Children’s Centre but have announced this will cease. DCC want this group to become a community group (volunteer led) but many question how long this could last? The volunteer peer supporters are wonderful but without having a Children’s Centre worker with a greater depth of knowledge and arranging the group it means there is no infrastructure to train future volunteers and once volunteers go back to work most can't sustain the level of commitment needed.

We, the undersigned, call on Devon County Council and the Government to:

  • ensure all mothers have access to good quality, timely breastfeeding support.
  • provide the funds so that local groups can deliver these valued services.

In January 2016 the Lancet confirmed the importance of breastfeeding - in both rich and poor countries - to the health (both physical and mental) of babies and mothers. The UK is reported to have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world yet the Government has done nothing to reverse this. Across the UK, especially in England, there have been severe cuts to breastfeeding support and these are continuing.

Midwives, health visitors and Doctors cannot offer this support alone. Integrated breastfeeding services must be protected (as per NICE and PHE guidelines) by making efficient use of the trained staff and peer supporters.

Improved breastfeeding rates would save the NHS millions. UNICEF UK estimated that £11m could be saved by preventing infections and £31m by reducing breast cancer.

In 2017 Bosom Buddies was awarded “Favorite pregnancy/pre school class” by Exeter Baby Activities in the Family Favourite Awards.

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