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Innovative support model helps more Anglesey mums and babies breastfeed for longer

March 7, 2024

A first-of-its-kind community support service is helping more Anglesey mums and their babies breastfeed for longer.

Sessions run by the unique Bronfwydo Môn project offer specialist backing for mothers and their babies, and have already played a major part in increasing rates of breastfeeding on the island.

It is the first service in Wales to offer local, expert breastfeeding support from highly-trained lactation consultants at open access sessions backed by a GP cluster.

Of the 140 mothers who attended during the project’s first year, more than eight in 10 breastfed their child exclusively for six months or more. In total, rates of breastfeeding on Anglesey at six weeks of age have risen by 3% while the number of mums breastfeeding their child at six months has climbed 7%.

Breastfeeding mums say they attend sessions because they offer practical, face-to-face support without an appointment – as well as a valuable opportunity to meet and socialise with others.


“I can’t really put into words how amazing it has been..."


Lucy Clark – mum to firecracker 15-month-old Lucas – said going along to Bronfwydo Môn had “changed their lives completely”. She took her newborn son along to the service after experiencing pain when she started breastfeeding.

“I can’t really put into words how amazing it has been for our journey,” Lucy said.

“It was just the most simple of changes in how he latched on and how I held him. I remember the very first time I went to feed Lucas and there wasn’t any pain – it was just amazing! It was so overwhelming that I just burst into tears.

“I would not still be breastfeeding if I hadn’t gone. It has been amazing for my mental health and for my social life as well – I have made so many new friends.

“I always come home feeling so much better, like a bit of a weight has been lifted. It’s been great in every single aspect, essential really.”


"It has just been a huge benefit for me..."


Sian Parry knew she was keen to breastfeed, so started attending sessions before her son Mabon – also now aged 15 months – arrived.

“It was bit of a running joke that I came with a notepad and pen to take notes!” Sian said. “But I just wanted to learn as much as I could.

“Even in those early weeks after Mabon arrived when I wasn’t able to drive, I could just walk up to the session and there was someone who could help me. Having this service available bilingually and close to home has been fantastic – it has just been a huge benefit for me.”

Breastfeeding has long-lasting positive impacts on the health of both mum and baby, and helps to reduce the likelihood of illness in later life.  It cuts baby’s risk of infections, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – while also reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis for mothers. Breastfeeding also helps to protect both mothers and babies from obesity and heart disease.


Unique community service

Bronfwydo Môn began in September 2022, offering open access sessions in Llangefni and Holyhead each week. These complement the help already available for new and expectant mums from health visitors and community midwives.

Dr Dyfrig ap Dafydd from Coed y Glyn Surgery in Llangefni leads the primary care cluster on Anglesey, which brings GPs together with other health professionals to respond to local healthcare needs. He said it was heartening to see early success from a unique community service as part of a cluster-wide focus on encouraging a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

“GPs often only see babies at eight weeks for their routine checks, by which time it can be too late for us to promote and support breastfeeding,” Dr ap Dafydd said.

“So it's very important that when midwives and health visitors are supporting mothers and their newborns, they can show mums that there is extra help out there for them with breastfeeding.

“This model offers that targeted specialist support, and we hope it will mean more mums and families can feel more confident to try breastfeeding and to stick with it.”

The team behind Bronfwydo Môn are now exploring ways to expand the approach to other areas of North Wales – including Arfon, where a short pilot programme supported by Cyngor Gwynedd’s early years transformation fund will run until the end of March.

Widespread support for breastfeeding in North Wales also includes three Breastfeeding Welcome Communities in Abergele, Llanberis and Caia Park in Wrexham, plus fully-integrated and midwife-led specialist infant feeding support teams within maternity departments at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

Families can also access our easy-to-use online map to view all businesses and venues which are members of the health board’s Breastfeeding Welcome scheme.

🔵 Breastfeeding support hubs led by infant feeding health visitors also operate throughout North Wales. More information about breastfeeding support near you is available from your health visitor or our Breastfeeding Friends groups.


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