MOTHERS could lose out on a “literal lifeline” as a breastfeeding clinic may be forced to close its doors next month.

Andover breastfeeding drop-in, at Andover Maternity Centre, has insufficient funds to run beyond April.

The service is not part of the NHS, meaning it relies entirely on donations, fundraising efforts and grants, with support from the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).

The clinic requires £4,000 a year to runs its weekly free sessions, with fundraising efforts already underway.

NCT breastfeeding counsellor Mindy Noble said: “It’s a perpetual battle to keep it funded. We’re at another point yet again where we need more funding.”

Organisers of the drop-in have applied for grants from the Tampon Tax Fund, which allocates funds generated from the VAT on sanitary products, and the National Lottery’s Awards for All programme.

Mindy added: “We spend as much time looking for and applying for funds as we do working with women.”

A sponsored walk at the end of last October brought in £500 and a JustGiving page has also been set up, with over £650 donated so far.

Breastfeeding offers a host of benefits to babies and their mothers – some of which tie in with the government’s aim of halving childhood obesity by 2030.

“There is clear evidence that breastfeeding for six months or 12 months has long-term outcomes for obesity,” added Mindy.

“With breastfeeding if they have finished, they have finished. You can’t over feed them.

“It’s also a very good way of bonding with your baby. And there are very good outcomes with postnatal depression.”

Andover town councillor, Katherine Bird, speaks from first-hand experiences about the value of the drop-in service.

She said: “There’s no doubt it is a literal lifeline for mums.

“Having the group meant you get out of the house, meant you were with other parents from whom there was no judgment if you hadn’t slept for days or hadn’t washed your hair.

“Just having someone else there who understands and who can support you makes the world of difference.”

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