EXCLUSIVE: Mums celebrate as date is set for re-opening of Northampton breast-feeding cafe

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MUMS in Northampton were last night celebrating news that a cafe specialising in breast-feeding support will re-open in the town in just over two weeks’ time.

Campaigners who had been trying to find a way to keep the Northampton Baby Cafe, in Wellington Street, open said yesterday they had raised enough funds to pay for specialist workers, who encourage vital breast-feeding skills, for one year.

Having approached Northamptonshire County Councillors for donations from their personal empowering councillors funding, the campaigners amassed £14,495.

It means the popular cafe, the closure of which by the NHS sparked huge protests in the town centre, will open its doors again at The Friends Meeting House on Friday, May 11. After that it will open on Mondays and Fridays between 10am and noon.

Carolyn Markham, one of the two Baby Ways workers who will be employed using the money said: “We are overwhelmed by the response. When we first heard from NHS Northamptonshire in January that the money was being stopped, I never thought we’d get back to this stage.”

NHS Northamptonshire stopped its £16,000-a-year funding as it wanted to spread the support for new mums around the county. It is also running schemes targeted on groups of women with low breast-feeding uptake. However mums and health professionals, many of whom took to the streets in February to march on County Hall with their children, argued the informal model was working perfectly.

Since 2004, the cafe has seen more than 1,600 different women and their babies.

Surveys showed that without help, 26 per cent of mums reverted to bottlefeeding after six months, compared with 49 per cent who had support.

Studies showed that bottle-fed babies has a higher chance of getting some conditions in later life with a resultant cost to the NHS.

Campaigners said they hoped to meet the shortfall in funding between the NHS figure and the councillors money with fund-raising.

Details of events will be made public soon.