Why start a support group?
A group offers support, understanding, encouragement and friendship to new mums who might be feeling isolated or vulnerable.
Once you start discussing the idea of setting up a group, you may find other mums are happy to help. You don’t have to be a trained breastfeeding counsellor or peer supporter although it is helpful to have a trained volunteer at meetings. See our Training with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers page.
Anyone with an interest in breastfeeding will be welcome at get-togethers. Breastfeeding babies and expectant mums are always welcome. Advertise on your local Facebook pages and/or local radio. Display posters in your local maternity unit, health centre, nursery, library, chemist. Make sure your poster has an email or phone contact so mums can check and be reassured the group is running that day. Contact email@example.com if you need help with poster design and to let us know about your group so we can add it to the listings on our website.
Get to know your local midwives and health visitors. Ask them to put new mums in touch with you. Offer to go along to antenatal talks on breastfeeding or to postnatal group meetings. If you’re happy to breastfeed your baby at these meetings, you’ll usually be very welcome. Remember that health professionals are busy people — you may have to be persistent and keep reminding them about your group. Keep a pleasant but high profile.
Tell mums about your support group. A personal invitation can be very effective. If you offer to accompany a new mum to her first group meeting, or make a special effort to welcome her on her first visit, this can make a huge difference to her confidence. Some groups keep in contact with mums through a dedicated Facebook group.
If your group grows, it may be easier to share the responsibilities and use a more formal approach by electing a committee. If you wish to apply for a grant, you will need to have a committee and audited accounts for the previous years (if your group has been in existence that long).