A knitting group is crafting woolly breasts to help teach anxious new mothers how to feed their babies.

The Corsham Knitting & Crochet Group has been recruited by health education staff at the Wiltshire Children and Young People’s Services to promote breast feeding among mothers as part of a project set-up by UNICEF.

The group, which meets each month at Corsham Community Centre, has been targeted with knitting 120 woolly breasts for the service.

So far members have created 17 for the Community Baby Friendly Initiative, which have been used by healthcare staff when they visit pregnant women across Wiltshire.

The breasts will be used to show women feeding techniques on dolls to help prepare them for their new baby.

Knitting group chairman Margaret Gibbs, 67, of Neston, said: “We were amazed when the idea of making knitted boobs was first presented to us but we were happy to help as we are always keen to support any good local causes.

“We were given the knitting pattern and we were told they could be any colour as long as the nipple is a different colour from the skin.

“We have got boobs in all sorts of colours and some of our members have had a bit of fun making some multi-coloured ones.

“It is all rather surreal having 17 fake breasts in my house and I think this is one of the strangest projects we’ve ever had but we are happy to help.”

Mrs Gibbs said she expects the group to have more knitted breasts ready for collection when they have their next meeting at the centre.

Suzanne Killeen, Community Baby Friendly Initiative leader, said: “The knitted breasts are more cost effective and more portable than commercially made models and ensure the practical help health visitors provide does not invade a woman’s privacy.

“We are very keen to promote breast feeding as it will help mothers and babies avoid problems later in life.

“I’d like to thank Margaret Gibbs and all the members of the knitting group for all their help. Some of the group were rather amused at the idea of knitted breasts, but they have also been very willing to take part and we will be supplying them with wool, stuffing and patterns.”

Knitting breasts is only one of the group’s latest projects.

They are also working on wristbands for the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

For more information about Corsham Knitting & Crochet Group, call Mrs Gibbs on (01225) 810621 and to find out more about the Baby Friendly Initiative, visit www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly