A new breastfeeding café at Crowborough Birthing Centre is providing an important community-based resource and expert feeding support for new parents.
In the past year, Crowborough Birthing Centre, part of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) has supported local women to give birth and provided maternity care – antenatal and postnatal – for around 700 women and babies.
Staff at the Birthing Centre pride themselves on providing compassionate, person-centred care, which is reflected in the positive feedback the team receives each month. Over the past year, teams at the Centre have identified the need for a community-based resource for new parents to meet, socialise and to receive emotional support as well as expert one-to-one feeding advice.
Held every Thursday morning, 9.00am – midday in the Day Centre at Crowborough War Memorial Hospital, the Breastfeeding Café is run by a variety of health specialists to support new parents with feeding, including the staff from the Birthing Centre as well as Lactation Specialist and Infant Feeding Lead at MTW, Sally Sidhu, and specially trained breastfeeding peer supporters
Parents are welcome to bring older children and other family members with them.
Birth Centre Maternity Support Worker, Laura Scarlett – who has championed the Breastfeeding Café project – said: “Infant feeding is not just about nutrition. It’s also about building a relationship between mother and baby, which goes far beyond the early months. Good, consistent, compassionate support is critical”.
Opened just a month ago, the team at the Birthing Centre are grateful to the Friends of Crowborough Hospital who have generously supported the use of the Day Centre as well as providing the equipment and refreshments.
Parents and their babies were welcomed by the Trust’s Acting Director of Midwifery, Rachel Thomas, who commented: “Meeting other parents who may have similar experiences with feeding can offer invaluable social support and help parents to feel connected and less isolated. This can make a really positive difference to parental mental wellbeing.”
Matron, Nicolette McCarthy, who runs the Centre, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide this face-to-face and one-to-one support at Crowborough Birthing Centre to new parents. We welcome anyone who would like to meet other breastfeeding parents and share their feeding journey, so please do come and join us.”