It’s not Costa or Planet Sweet but there’s a café in Horley where the clientele have one thing in common – they all order milk!
Horley’s Baby Café is part of the Baby Café Network, now an international charitable trust providing information and support to mothers wishing to breast feed their babies.
As their website suggests: ‘A Baby Café is a place where breastfeeding is considered the normal way to feed and care for a baby. Mums can expect to receive up-to-date information about breastfeeding, including professional help from staff who are knowledgeable and skilled in helping women breastfeed, and enjoy a relaxed, informal, safe, child-friendly, non-medical environment. If you have not fed your baby whilst being out and about before, Baby Café is the perfect environment to bridge the gap from being at home to feeding elsewhere’.
The idea started in 2000 when health professionals Catherine Pardoe and Julie Williams, started an NHS funded drop-in centre in Horsham for breastfeeding mothers.
The scheme took off with a growing number of groups being established nationally and the Baby Café Network became a charitable trust in 2006, later merging with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) in 2010.
The Baby Café network is promoted by GP surgeries, hospitals and health visitors, and research shows that mums who have support from other mothers while breastfeeding are more likely to continue.
Horley’s group celebrates its 10th birthday at the end of this month, whilst their early clients may now be glugging cola and juice new families have kept coming in the past decade resulting in its continued success.
Run by the Horley Children’s Centre and the Windmill Children Centre a drop-in session is open every Monday during term time and there is no appointment needed or fee.
Any breastfeeding or pregnant mother is welcome along with their partners – they will find a warm and caring environment run by breastfeeding counsellors and volunteer
Organiser and NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor, Anne Humphreys, says: “Our peer supporters are really skilled in listening to visitors and helping them to explore their problems. I really couldn’t run the Baby Café without the volunteers.’
“These cafés provide such an essential service and I dearly wish that I’d had access to something like this when I was a young mum. As one Horley mum has said, ‘I’ve found it’s been my haven coming here!” Anne said.[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]Horley Baby Café meets during term time on Mondays 10.00am – 12.00pm at The Old Fire Station, Albert Road, Horley RH6 7JA
For more information, visit: www.thebabycafé.org or, the group’s Facebook page: Horley Baby Café.[/box]