'Milk float' cafe promotes breastfeeding

Oxford Mail Article November 2007

By Victoria Owen

Breastfeeding counsellors are celebrating the success of their mobile baby cafe after the 200th mother and baby stepped inside.

Lucy Taylor, of Randolph Street, East Oxford, visited the 18-seater bus - which is the UK's first - when it made a stop in nearby Cowley Road, to get advice about nursing her three-week-old son William.

Although the new mum has been breastfeeding her son since he was born at the John Radcliffe Hospital, weighing 6lb 13oz, she was finding it difficult and needed help. Mrs Taylor, who is currently on maternity leave from Oxfam's humanitarian department, said: "My health visitor told me about the bus after I said I was struggling. They were very helpful and I've found breastfeeding a lot better since then.

"Although it was difficult, I told myself to keep going until the baby cafe stopped in Cowley Road. I would recommend it to other mothers, and I'd go back again if I ever need more help."

The mobile Baby Café, which has been dubbed the milk float, started its engine in May, and visits Northway Tower, Marston, on Mondays, Donnington Doorstep Family Centre on Tuesdays, and Cutteslowe Community Centre on Fridays.

The city also plays host to static baby cafes in Rose Hill, Headington and Blackbird Leys.

Mothers can visit any of the cafes to meet with other mums and get advice from health visitors, midwives and breastfeeding experts.

Counsellor and project leader Julie Osborne said: "We're looking at locations to stop the bus next year and want to be where it will be used to capacity, so we want to be where there's a lot of hustle and bustle, which is why we went to Cowley Road.

"It was very successful and we certainly might be including it in our plans for 2008. It's wonderful to know that we've had 200 visits since launching the mobile baby cafe. It's exciting to know we're growing in popularity, and that word is spreading about us."