Oxfordshire Breastfeeding Support is here for all Oxfordshire families, virtually and in-person
What does OBS do?
Oxfordshire Breastfeeding Support (formerly Oxford Baby Cafes Group) has been supporting families since 2006 via a network of weekly drop-in sessions and on Facebook. In March 2020 we rapidly transformed ourselves into a 100% virtual service, and from July 2021 we adapted once again, and now offer a hybrid model of virtual and in-person services.
- Four in-person sessions a week: once each at Didcot, Barton, Kidlington and Donnington.
- Zoom or phone 1:1 consultations
- Virtual antenatal sessions
- A monthly Zoom group on topics such as sleep, complementary foods and returning to work
- Low-cost loan of breast pumps
- A supportive, popular, closely moderated Facebook group.
We work in partnership with a range of other organisations including Family Nurse Partnership
maternal mental health support group and Botley Bridges Children's Centre
to provide feeding support to families who might find it more difficult to access it. Our team of 5 specialist facilitators works closely with 20+ trained volunteers, mostly former service users, whose engagement is fundamental to service planning & delivery.Our impact on the community
- A life saver. I can't get through to my GP surgery, I have no idea where the health visitors went, I couldn't break into the hospital to see the feeding team, my community midwife seemed to disappear but OBS were easy to talk to and useful. Really helped me and I think they are invaluable. - Vanessa, service user.
- At 6 weeks post-partum, I was at my lowest, and ready to give up hope of continuing breastfeeding. My partner insisted I sought help. During lockdown, at home, I was able to access 1:1 support from a smiling OBS face. She gave me encouragement that I was doing the right things, along with expert advice, tips and reassurance that it *would* get better. The true value is that nearly 6 months later, I still see that morning's Zoom call as a turning point in our feeding journey. It did get better. - Rebecca, service user.
Why the community needs us
- The 1:1 support and online group meetings have been so encouraging. It was so nice to receive help, to meet other mothers and to learn from their experiences, and also good to hear that we were not doing everything wrong. The enthusiasm and commitment of the OBS team is really special. Rosa, service user.
The pandemic has demonstrated how important it is for parents to have access to swift breastfeeding support, especially when the professionals who would usually help - midwives and health visiting staff - are less available than usual. During a public health crisis and food insecurity, breastfeeding is more important than ever. The current generation of new parents in the UK have often not been breastfed themselves, or had the opportunity to learn from watching others. OBS plays a vital role in filling that gap, providing timely, skilled specialist help, and connecting parents in a virtual community. We are keen for our service to be flexible, relevant and adaptable to the different needs of our service users.
We're delighted to be providing some in-person services again - there is nothing quite like the chemistry of being in the room with other families and feeding supporters! These sessions offer the best opportunity for full feeding assessment as well as social contact with peers.
However, our learning during the pandemic is that virtual tools are a very effective way of meeting the needs of families who experience additional barriers to accessing feeding help, e.g. age, disability, location, health status, mental health issues. We are committed to continuing virtual consultations and antenatal sessions and to working hard to widen access to our services.What we will do with your donation
Our main cost is the time of our specialist facilitator team. We have funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to develop our service. Your donation will enable us to continue and expand our core activities in the coming year.