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Celebrating the Baby Cafe success

PUBLISHED: 17:02 03 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:30 11 May 2010

Midwives and health visitors are among the guests who have been invited to celebrate the success of a "Baby Café" in Lowestoft on Wednesday.

The Baby Café at The Ark Children's Centre, Water Lane, supports mums who are currently breastfeeding and also pregnant women who are interested in breastfeeding.

Midwives and health visitors are among the guests who have been invited to celebrate the success of a “Baby Café” in Lowestoft on Wednesday.

The Baby Café at The Ark Children's Centre, Water Lane, supports mums who are currently breastfeeding and also pregnant women who are interested in breastfeeding.

They can drop in at any point between 10.30am and 12.30pm every Wednesday for advice, information and support and to chat with women in the same circumstances in a relaxed, café-style environment. There is no charge.

It is run Maria Petrovic, a health visitor employed by Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust, and Elaine Speirs, a health promotion midwife with Sure Start Lowestoft.

As well as midwives and health visitors, PCT staff involved in children's services and representatives from Kirkley Children's Centre have been invited to Wednesday's celebration.

Miss Petrovic said: “It will give us an opportunity to tell our guests all about The Baby Café so that they are in a good position to inform women about what it offers.

“The Baby Café is getting busier than ever - it's going really well and we get at least eight women calling in every week and sometimes up to 12.

“It's a very informal facility where women can drop in - with their baby if they have already become a mum - and chat with other women over a coffee or talk to Elaine and myself if they have any specific issues.

“Pregnant women who attend a breastfeeding workshop run by midwives at the same venue on the first Wednesday of each month often attend The Baby Café.

“We have women who come along with babies from only a few days old to babies getting on for a year. Sometimes, they haven't got any specific breastfeeding issues but simply find it an enjoyable social occasion.”

So-called “peer supporters” - women who are already breastfeeding or who have done so recently and who have been trained to support and advise breastfeeding women - will be at the celebration and are also on hand every week to help anyone dropping in. They also visit women at home, in hospital and at other clinics.

Miss Petrovic said much of the value of The Baby Café was women meeting other women in the same position and simply supporting each other. A crèche run by a nursery nurse is available for women with older children.

Some of the specific issues that she and Mrs Spiers are asked about include positioning, the regularity of feeds, pain, mastitis and thrush.

In addition to The Baby Café, midwives hold an antenatal breastfeeding workshop at The Ark Children's Centre on the first Wednesday of each month,

Miss Petrovic said there was a mass of evidence to show that breast was best for both babies and mothers. For examples, babies who are breastfed are less likely to become obese later in life and their mothers can get their figures back faster.

Baby Cafes are also held at the Priory Centre, Priory Plain, Great Yarmouth, and at St Peter's Church Hall, Lowestoft Road, Gorleston. It is hoped to establish one in the future at Kirkley Children's Centre.

A facility can only be called a “Baby Café” if it has the approval of the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative.

A survey published in 2005 found that 76pc of women in the UK were breastfeeding their babies in the first few days after birth, 21pc after six weeks and 7pc after four months. In north Lowestoft in January 2007, 43pc were breastfeeding at birth, 14pc after six weeks and 4pc after three (checked) months.

Anyone wanting more information about the The Baby Café at The Ark Children's Centre should phone either Maria Petrovic on 077761 47432 or Elaine Speirs on 079839 62212.

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