Self-help group is proving a lifeline for mums

May 08 2017

MUMS from Fishponds have set up a feeding support group and would love to get others onboard.

MUMS from Fishponds have set up a feeding support group and would love to get others onboard.

Called Feeding Support in Fishponds, the group offers advice and support about feeding your child, whether they are breast, combination or bottle fed.

They also look at weaning as well as various other parenting issues which crop up during sessions.

Members meet every Thursday from 1.30-2.30pm at Fishponds Baptist Church, in the Sticky Fish preschool entrance during term time.

As well as the chance to talk to other mums, the group offers 'peer supporters' and a member of staff from Little Hayes Children's Centre.

One of the founding members, Fishponds mum-of-two Jodie Thame, said: "We are a group of local mums who set the group up as Fishponds did not have a support group. In those first weeks of having a baby it's really hard to get out and about and having to travel to Downend or Kingswood for support groups can be a real struggle. 

"The group started as a Facebook post asking if there was enough support for this type of group in Fishponds and about 30 mums came back to say there was. From that a few people met up and we managed to get the children's centre involved who said they could provide a member of staff to come along to the sessions."

Other mums involved in setting up the group are volunteers Lucie Montgomery, Eleanor Kelly and Sara Headeach; peer supporters Jo Ball and Mali Kedward, and Gaynor Younger from Little Hayes Children's Centre.

Around 15 mums attended the first session at the end of February, many finding out through the group's regularly updated Facebook page and leaflet drops.

Jodie said: "We get a lot of first-time mums who are either breast feeding, combi feeding or bottle feeding. It's not just about breast feeding because we don't want to alienate any mums who are bottle feeding. We all have similar issues whether the children are breast or bottle fed.

"We talk about all sorts of issues and once you are in the room, it's a private space for everyone to support each other. It's good for mums to hear from other mums who have already 'been there' and have had lots of different experiences.

"We also have professional support from the children's centre which means staff can help with things like whether the baby has latched properly and more complex issues. We have a good range of experience and expertise.

"It's a really friendly, chilled-out environment and it's been much-needed in Fishponds for a number of years."

Jodie said the main challenge was funding.

"We are self-funded and rely on donations to pay for refreshments and room costs. At the moment it's donations only as we really don't want to pressure mums into thinking they have to put anything into the box. Room costs are really low but we need to start covering our costs. We are thinking about funding options like applying for grants but aren't quite at that stage yet.

"We've been doing really well but are trying to put the word out in Fishponds that we are here. We want to get as many people as possible to come in the lead up to the summer because if we don't get enough funding in place then we will have to close over the summer holidays. If that was the case we would look at meeting up at a park so it wouldn't cost anything but we'd still be able to support each other."

To find out more, look at the group's Facebook page - Feeding Support in Fishponds - or turn up at one of the sessions.