Better Breastfeeding committee

The Better Breastfeeding campaign is organised by a committee of volunteers.

Ayala Ochert (founder and co-chair)
Ayala Ochert is a science journalist by profession but she has long been interested in breastfeeding – both the science and the art of it. She has written articles about breastfeeding and the science of breastmilk. She is a trained peer supporter and is passionate about helping mothers to breastfeed. In 2015, she joined the team that produced the UK’s first World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative report, which documented the country’s performance in terms of its breastfeeding strategy. Frustrated with the way that breastfeeding is discussed in the media, and seeing the difficulty so many mothers have in accessing high quality practical support – particularly with recent cuts in so many areas – she founded the Better Breastfeeding campaign in 2017.

Dr Amy Brown (co-chair)
Amy Brown is associate professor of child public health at Swansea University and author of Breastfeeding Uncovered: Who Really Decides How We Feed Our Babies? Her research over the last 11 years has investigated the barriers society places in the way of mothers who want to breastfeed. She explores how we can remove these, and she is working closely with policymakers and breastfeeding support organisations to try to achieve this. She hopes that the UK will one day be more like Sweden and Norway, where breastfeeding is almost universal.

Shel Banks IBCLC
Shel Banks works for the NHS and in private practice as an infant feeding specialist, delivering training to health professionals and working with individual families. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) since 2010, Shel sits on the main committee for the Lactation Consultants of Great Britain as well as chairing their communications team. She is vice chair of the UK Association for Milk Banking (UKAMB) and chairs the Local Infant Feeding Information Board, which offers evidence-based information on infant feeding topics. Shel has helped develop a number of NICE guidelines relating to infant feeding. She also chairs the committee which runs the annual Breastfeeding Festival. Most recently she has been campaigning to save the breastfeeding peer support programme in Blackpool, which was suddenly cut in June 2017.

Dr Louise Santhanam
Louise Santhanam is a GP working in a London practice and has professional special interests in maternal health and infant feeding. She is founder of the GP Infant Feeding Network, which builds links between GPs and breastfeeding experts with the aim of improving GP education on infant feeding. Louise’s experience of breastfeeding her own children made her aware of the importance of quality support to the health and wellbeing of mothers who wish to breastfeed. Her non-clinical work also includes a focus on improving perinatal mental health care in the UK, and she sees the protection and improvement of breastfeeding support services as integral to this effort.

Susan Last
Susan Last is a publisher and freelance editor specialising in birth and breastfeeding. She’s a volunteer peer supporter with the NHS in Derbyshire, a director of Baby Milk Action and edited Lonely Scribe’s book Breastfeeding: stories to inspire and inform. She is a mother of three and blogs about birth, breastfeeding, books and publishing as the Lonely Scribe.

Lyndsey Hookway IBCLC
Lyndsey is an experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), registered paediatric nurse, health visitor and gentle sleep coach who has helped thousands of families with breastfeeding, sleep, eating, behaviour and parenting challenges. She has published several academic articles and regularly gives talks and delivers training on breastfeeding, gentle sleep coaching, infant behaviour, reflux and allergies. She is an active committee member of the Lactation Consultants of Great Britain, and is committed to delivering high-quality evidence-based care to families.

Emma Jane Sasaru
Emma Jane Sasaru works for the NHS supporting women with their physical and emotional health during pregnancy and beyond. She has 10 years’ experience supporting families to feed their babies in neonatal, hospital and community settings and is also a trained doula. Emma Jane runs a website and Facebook page for women who have suffered birth trauma, and is co-founder of the Birth Trauma Trust. She is also involved in a number of national projects aimed at improving maternity care and maternal mental health. She is passionate about supporting families to make informed choices, particularly around feeding their baby.

Mindy Noble
Mindy trained as a breastfeeding counsellor with NCT nearly ten years ago. She is a founding member of Hampshire Breastfeeding Counselling, which was set up to deliver breastfeeding support services in local children’s centres. This successful service ran for several years but, in 2016, the county council ended grant funding despite a vigorous and high-profile local campaign, which had the support of local mothers, councillors, MPs, midwives, health visitors and GPs. Mindy is also chair of the Hampshire Maternity Services Liaison Committee, where she works closely with midwifery colleagues on all aspects of maternity care. She’s a passionate campaigner in support of improving maternity services, and has a particular interest in breastfeeding, maternal mental health and helping women to become confident parents.

Helen Calvert
Helen Calvert is a parent advocate and social media campaigner. After her second son was born with a congenital heart defect, she began the Hospital Breastfeeding campaign, calling for better breastfeeding support on paediatric wards. She is also part of the #MatExp (maternity experience) campaign. Helen blogs at Heart Mummy Musings.