A group of London volunteers has launched an online breastfeeding support group to help new and expectant mums during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Drawing on years of experience working with mums in the NHS, they came together to create Blossom Antenatal which runs on Zoom.
The aim is to ease the burden on the NHS and support expectant families, as all NHS classes of this kind have been cancelled during the pandemic.
Normally, 30% of new mums in hospital ask for breastfeeding classes. 1,200 mums have already booked into classes in just over a week.
The group has also had calls from qualified breastfeeding specialists across the UK willing to offer their services. Word has spread quickly through this community of volunteers.
Clare Castell, an NHS Infant Feeding Team/NCT trained teacher with over 15 years’ experience, has set up online interactive live classes with a focus on breastfeeding.
She said: “Breastfeeding, whilst completely natural is still a skill which needs to be explained to help its success. The UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding and now women are frightened. They want to breastfeed and they need the knowledge and education before they go in to hospital because services are stretched once they arrive.
“It is not easy to obtain formula at the current time and this is worrying mums. We are calling on the government to secure the supply for mums and babies urgently.”
Inundated with requests from mums to be, the first week of classes filled within a day. The coaching session being offered online is live and fully interactive. It is limited to 20 participants to allow for questions.
Blossom Antenatal was founded by ClareCastell , Anne Anderton, Siobhan Siddy, Caroline Nagle, Dr Anne Murphy and Olivia Vandyk – and a whole host of other volunteers who are working tirelessly to support our NHS and provide this much needed support.
Clare added, “We have an army of trained and experienced volunteers standing behind us and we are ready to step up and work to help reach all the mums who need us.”