Laura Scarlett and Nicola Gooding

The Crowborough Breastfeeding Café is celebrating its first full year of providing much-needed local infant feeding support for parents and caregivers.  Over 800 people and their babies from Sussex, Kent and Surrey have attended, with many returning regularly for skilled and compassionate feeding support, and the opportunity to spend time with other parents over a cup of tea and some cake.

Run by staff from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, who manage the birthing centre, the café has become a valued source of support for the local community. Parents have shared how the café has help them to make improvements to their feeding technique and routine, and how people can support their partners with feeding. One mum said her breastfeeding may not have continued without the café.

Maternity Support Worker, Laura Scarlett, and Infant Feeding Lead, Sally Sidhu, who run the café say they have been blown away by the café’s success.  “We know that there are mums who want to breastfeed, but often don’t feel supported to do so.  The café provides time, space and ongoing specialist guidance to help women learn the skills they need to feed their babies in the way they wish.”

Members of the Crowborough Breastfeeding Cafe
Crowborough Breastfeeding Group

Crucially important are peer supporters (trained volunteers from the local community) who are there each  week to provide mother-to-mother support.  Many peer supporters were already established breastfeeding specialists, while others decided they wanted to give something back after  attending the café and receiving advice and guidance themselves.

Peer Supporter, Nicola Gooding, explains:  “I’ve overcome so much on my feeding journey because of the support I’ve had here, and I hope I can help other mums to see that it’s worth persevering. It’s so rewarding to see a new parent grow in confidence over the weeks and know I’ve played a tiny part in their journey.”

This free café, funded by The Friends of Crowborough Hospital, takes place from 9am – 11.30am every Thursday morning at the Crowborough Hospital Day Centre.  There is no need to book and parking is free, with refreshments provided.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a peer supporter, please email