Healthworks Newcastle

Sarah Cowling CEO

Everyone has choices but taking responsibility to make good choices can be harder for some than for others – we can help!

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History of Newcastle Breastfeeding Support

Baby Friendly was established in 1992 and was introduced to the UK in 1995. The initiative was originally focused solely on maternity services, and provided a 10-step programme for maternity services for maternity services to support and encourage mothers to breastfeed, in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. It was then expanded to include community services, with a dedicated 7-point plan to enable improved practice in community health care, in order to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.

Due to significantly low breastfeeding rates in the North East in July 2010 the NHS North of Tyne and Newcastle Hospital Trust embarked on the Baby Friendly Initiative which is a worldwide programme of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes (the code) was launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1981. In addition to this code, UNICEF and WHO developed Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI).

During the early 1990’s in Newcastle midwifery services and the Local Authority initially supported breast feeding through the Sure Start Programme. Then in June 2010 HealthWORKS Newcastle (HWN) took on the management and delivery of Newcastle Breastfeeding Peer Support Project on behalf of and in partnership with Sure Start and Public Health.

The peer support programme is mother to mother support from volunteers who have trained to counsel and encourage other breastfeeding mothers that has proven to be successful in sustaining breastfeeding.

We’re committed to supporting women to breastfeed for six to eight weeks and beyond:

  • Breastfeeding peer support coordinators deliver early intervention visits to help with positioning and attachment to get breastfeeding off to a good start.
  • We recruit and train peer supporters, coordinate breastfeeding support groups across the city and deliver good quality antenatal breastfeeding information and citywide events for awareness and health.

Since the project began it’s been very popular and has been used well by the public. As a team we work closely with health professionals (Midwives and Health Visitors) who refer women on a regular basis.

We’re always looking for volunteers to become involved as they are essential in the delivery of the service and in creating a breastfeeding community within Newcastle. To find out more click ‘How to Volunteer