Welcome to the West Essex Baby Friendly Team

In West Essex we have Baby Friendly Champions who are dedicated to infant feeding and relationship building.  Mothers and babies are at the heart of the work we do and our aim is to provide excellent information about infant feeding, protect, promote and support breastfeeding and help strengthen mother-baby and family relationships within our communities.

More about us

The Baby Friendly Team’s philosophy is to be able to explain why breastfeeding matters, provide good information about bottle feeding,  as well as recognise the importance of a close and loving relationship between mothers and their babies, whatever their method of feeding. We want all women to have meaningful conversations about infant feeding with their Health Visitor during pregnancy, as well as receive support once the baby arrives.

We have set up Bosom Buddies breastfeeding support groups in various locations around West Essex. These offer a welcoming environment for women to meet other breastfeeding mums and form a support network, as well as get help with breastfeeding issues.  We welcome breastfeeding mums and encourage pregnant women to join us and talk about breastfeeding, meet the team and become familiar with the group.  This may help new mums to feel more confident to attend once the baby has arrived.

All staff within the Health Visiting team receive training and updates about breastfeeding and relationship building so that they can support families. The Baby Friendly Champions are a resource for staff to ensure that complex breastfeeding problems are supported and resolved, so that mothers are able to breastfeed for as long as they want to.

We believe that breastfeeding is the natural way to feed a baby and support initiatives in our community for breastfeeding which help mothers to be able to breastfeed in public places.

Find your local Family Hub >

Bosom Buddies are breastfeeding support groups around West Essex with a welcoming atmosphere where breastfeeding mums can meet and support each other, and find help and support with breastfeeding issues.  We welcome breastfeeding mums and encourage pregnant women to join us and talk about breastfeeding, meet the team and become familiar with the group.

Bosom Buddies are attended by either a member of the Health Visiting Team or a Breastfeeding Network helper/supporter. Please see below for current locations and timings of venues.

Drop in sessions for Bosom Buddies support groups

Buttercups Childrens Centre – Monday – 2.00 – 4.00
Plaw Hatch Close, Bishops Stortford, CM23 5BJ

Little Goslings Children’s Centre – Monday – 10.00 – 12-00
North Street, Great Dunmow, CM6 1AZ

Tree House Children’s Centre – Monday – 12:30 – 2:00
Parnall Road, Harlow, CM18 7NG

Waltham Abbey Health Centre – Wednesday – 9:30 – 11:00
Sewardstone Road, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1NP

Fairycroft Children’s Centre – Wednesday – 10:30 – 12:00
37 Fairycroft Road, Saffron Walden, CB10 1ND

Meadows children’s Centre – Wednesday – 10.30 – 12.30
Harberts Rd, Harlow, CM19 4DL

Little Squirrels Childrens Centre – Wednesday – 2:00 – 4:00
Bishops Stortford, CM23 2NL

ABC Children’s Centre – Thursday – 10.00 – 12.00
Garden Terrace Road, Old Harlow, CM17 0AT

Sawbridgeworth Library– Thursday – 10.00 – 11.00
Sawbridgeworth CM21 9BD

Sunrise Children’s Centre – Friday – 10:00 – 11.00
Alderton Hall Lane, Loughton, IG10 3HE

St Margaret’s Hospital Clinic Hall – Friday – 12.00 – 1.00
Epping Forest Unit, Epping, CM16 6TN

Drop in sessions breastfeeding advice

Friendly, relaxed atmosphere provided by Midwives, Health Visitors and Peer Support Workers.

Drop in clinic

Every Monday (except bank holidays) – 10:00 – 12:00
The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, Birthing Unit
Hamstel Rd, Harlow CM20 1QX
(Up to 28 days after you have your baby)

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby. The Department of Health recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed until six months of age and continue to be breastfed beyond six months, alongside supplementary foods.

The Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a café, shop or public transport.

Mothers often report that they give up breastfeeding earlier than they wanted to. One of the reasons for this is because it is difficult to breastfeed when out & about.

Tips for breastfeeding in public

You shouldn’t ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. Breastfeeding your baby is something to be proud of, and you shouldn’t feel the need to hide away or be discreet. However, if being discreet is important to you, you might want to think about the following:

Some mothers have shared that before they breastfeed in public for the first time, they practise in front of a mirror to find out exactly what can be seen. This gives them reassurance.

Breastfeeding at one of our Bosom Buddies groups can help you to feel more confident as you can practise in a supportive environment and share tips with other breastfeeding mums.

It’s useful to think about the clothes you wear. Some mothers choose to buy special breastfeeding tops, but wearing a simple strappy vest top as a bottom layer is also a good option. When your baby is ready to feed, stretch the vest top underneath your breast, and lift up your top layer. This means that all your tummy and back are covered by the vest top, and the top of your breast is covered by the top layer. Once the baby is attached, there is nothing to see!

Some mothers find using a muslin or scarf as an additional cover helps them to feel more secure. Mothers also find they can feed their babies while holding them in a sling.

Being aware of your baby’s feeding cues can help you to start to feed your baby before they cry, meaning that less people will notice what you are doing.

Remember – people are more likely to notice a baby that is crying than a baby being breastfed

For help and support with breastfeeding outside of normal working hours the following contact details may be useful.

National helpline numbers which are charged at local rates

National Breastfeeding helpline number –  0300 100 0212 – 09.30 – 09.30

NCT Breastfeeding helpline number – 0300 330 0771 – 08.00 – 00.00

Breastfeeding Network helpline number –  0300 100 0210 – 09.30 – 21.30

Breastfeeding Network supporter line – 0300 456 2421 – 09.30 – 21.30 (Bengali and Syleti)

La Leche League helpline number –  0845 120 2918 (24hrs if urgent)

Find out more

I was treated with great care and understanding. The care I received was second to none; everyone was so lovely.

Sapphire Ward, Gravesham Hospital