LifeLine Projects

Everyone needs a Lucy: LifeLine to launch breastfeeding peer support programme

My son Caleb was born happy and healthy. Having attended LifeLine’s Getting Ready for your Baby programme, Judi, my wife, was determined to breastfeed—but it was not as easy as we expected. Caleb lost over 10% of his birth weight and the health visitor insisted that we start bottle feeding so we could monitor his intake.

When we refused, we were threatened with a referral to Social Services. The health visitor had left us somewhat traumatised. Later that night, Judi phoned her friend Lucy, who was a LifeLine-trained breast-feeding peer supporter. Lucy came round to our house immediately—she brought with her peace, reassuring us and giving practical breast-feeding support. This was the first of many times we called upon Lucy for support.

Unfortunately, Judi’s story is not uncommon.

—Nathan Singleton, CEO, LifeLine Projects

Research has shown that the UK has ended up with the worst rate of breastfeeding in the world. The World Health Organisation recommends that babies are fed exclusively on breast milk for the first six months—in the UK, this could be happening in as little as 1% of cases1.

But the health benefits of breastfeeding are many2. Research has shown that breastfed babies are better protected from infections and diarrhoea, have a lower mortality rate from SIDS and NEC, and are less likely to develop misaligned teeth. And these benefits continue into adulthood—research has shown breastfeeding is likely to lower rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. There’s even some evidence of adults who were breastfed performing better in intelligence tests. The mother benefits too, with lower rates of breast and ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes.

We believe that every new mother needs a Lucy. But many are isolated from their community and have no-one to turn to. This is why, thanks to Start4Life funding secured by Barking and Dagenham Council, we’ll be partnering with Havering Mind to develop a programme to increase the number of mothers breastfeeding, both in the first six months and beyond. Together, we’ll working in a variety of areas to achieve this goal, including:

We’ll also be working closely with various maternity, community and other public services in the borough to ensure that no family that needs help with breastfeeding goes unseen. And, as part of our commitment to long-term support, the support network from this programme will be designed to be resilient and self-sufficient, so that the help continues long after the funding ends.

The research really highlights the importance of work like this—the vast majority of families are missing out on significant benefits to their health and wellbeing, even into adulthood. And let us not forget the wider benefits too—improving health and wellbeing reduces demand on our health and care system and releases more public money to other areas of need. This particular area of work is somewhat nostalgic for LifeLine and for me—ten years ago, we were running a similar programme and I’m delighted that we are once again working hard to equip local mothers and their families with the means to give their children a better future. —Nathan Singleton, CEO, LifeLine Projects


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These articles may contain testimonials by LifeLine staff members and service users of our programmes and/or services. These testimonials reflect the real-life experiences and opinions of such staff members/service users. However, the experiences are personal to those staff members/service users and may not necessarily be representative of all staff members/service users of our programmes and/or services. We do not claim, and you should not assume, that all staff members/service users will have the same experiences. Individual results may vary.

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The views and opinions contained in the testimonials belong solely to the individual user and do not reflect our views and opinions. Staff members/service users are not paid or otherwise compensated for their testimonials.



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