Virtual Breastfeeding Support

Following on from Wednesday night’s announcement that sadly we have had to stop running our 7 weekly breastfeeding support groups (BAPS, BABES, GLOBES, BEST, CRIBS and MOBS Stroud and Dursley) we want to tell you about our proposed virtual face-to-face sessions.

WHAT: Virtual face-to-face one-to-one breastfeeding support.

WHO:
The support is offered BY our usual professional Breastfeeding Support Workers.
It is FOR anyone (in Gloucestershire) who needs breastfeeding support – including Mums-to-be looking for advice ahead of starting their breastfeeding journey.

WHEN:
Mondays – 10 – 12 and 12:30 – 2:30
Tuesdays – 10 – 12
Wednesdays – 10 – 12
Thursdays – 10 – 12 and 12:30 – 2:30
Friday – 10 – 12

WHERE: It’s virtual – so via Facetime. WhatsApp video call, Zoom, Skype – whatever works!

HOW MUCH: It’s free! All our face-to-face groups are free to attend so this is no different. We are, however, an entirely self-funded charity and so if you are able to make a donation to help us keep going we would really appreciate it. This it not compulsory though – we are here to support everyone that we can.

HOW DOES IT WORK:
Our BFSWs are offering 20 minute slots. There will therefore be 6 slots each session. Each day, around 1pm, (starting on Sunday 22nd March – Mother’s Day) on our main GBSN Facebook page, we will post about the next day’s virtual session(s). All you need to do is comment on the post to register your interest. (Tagging a friend will not count as registering their interest). We will then PM you to confirm your slot and ask a couple of details including your phone number and best contact method. We may also ask your baby’s age (or your due date) and a rough idea of what you’d like to talk about. These will be allocated on a first come first served basis (and please remember that the slots are free and the admin is being done by volunteers). We will give you a rough idea of when you can expect your virtual call on the day but obviously ask you to be patient if the call is a little later than planned. All of your answers and contact details will be kept confidential and the BFSW will delete your details after the call. If we get more requests than we have slots, or if things overrun and we can’t get to you all, anyone who requested will be rolled over to the next session.

CAVEAT:
This is all a trial! This Charity is run by volunteer trustees with the help of one paid admin assistant. We pay our self-employed BFSWs for their time in group (and please note that we are continuing to pay all our self-employed BFSWs for their usual hours during this crisis) but they also give a lot of volunteer time. These are totally unprecedented times and, frankly, we’re all trying to do our best and might not get things right first time. We welcome constructive feedback on how best to administer this idea so that the most Mums can receive our support but without the administrative burden becoming too much on our volunteers!

AND FINALLY:
We know that at the very heart of GBSN is our body of wonderful Peer Supporters: Mums who have breastfed their own children, undergone training and now volunteer to support other Mums with their breastfeeding. The Trustees have made the decision that the virtual support sessions will be run only by our professional BFSWs. This is not because we don’t value our Peer Supporters: we really really do. It’s because we want to protect them from being put under unintended pressure. When our Peer Supporters do their volunteer work for GBSN, they always have a BFSW present in the room – it would be wrong to ask them to offer Peer Support in any other circumstances. We know that our wonderful army of volunteers is looking to make social distancing that little bit easier using social media so please do join in the discussions across all of GBSN’s social media – the main page, the individual group pages, Twitter and Instagram.