Start4Life launches new breastfeeding support service

Breastfeeding Friend (BFF) ChatBot has been launched to provide online support for new mums.

Pregnancy news, 23/03/17

NHS’ Start4Life programme has launched a new online breastfeeding support service for mums.

The Breastfeeding Friend (BFF) ChatBot is an interactive service that is accessed through Facebook Messenger. The BFF is available 24 hours a day and is designed to be a quick and easy way for new mums to get personal support with breastfeeding around the clock.

The live chat tool was developed after a survey by Public Health England found that many mums were worried about various aspects of breastfeeding. It is hoped that the service will help to ease concerns and answer questions that mums may have during the first few months of breastfeeding.

Professor Viv Bennet, chief nurse at Public Health England, says, ‘Breastfeeding, while natural, is something that all mums and their babies learn by doing,’

‘Mums tell us that after the first few weeks, breastfeeding becomes easier so proper support is crucial at this time, which is where our BFF is designed to help.’

The new service has been praised by the Royal College of Midwives. Jacque Gerrard, director for England at Royal College of Midwives, said, ‘Getting infant feeding right will help to give newborn babies the best possible start in life. Women need all the support they can get, particularly first-time mothers.

‘Any initiative that goes towards helping mothers start and sustain breastfeeding for longer is positive as we know the health benefits from being breastfed last a lifetime.’

We know that it can be tough for any mum to start and keep going with breastfeeding. We welcome the launch of the BFF service and think it’s great that support is there for mums 24 hours a day, especially during those night-time feeds. It’s a great addition to the support from your midwife and health visitor.

The BFF can be accessed via Facebook Messenger using Android, iPhones, tablets or computers. Simply open Messenger on your chosen device and search Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend or visit http://m.me/Start4LifeBreastFeedingFriend to get started.

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