Peer Support for Breastfeeding Mothers

Today we have a guest post from Mandi, who not only blogs at HexMum but is also a peer supporter for Breast friends Great Yarmouth and Waveney Breastfeeding Team.

To celebrate World Breastfeeding week 2013, the focus is on Good Peer Support for breastfeeding mothers.

When I began my breastfeeding journey over fifteen years ago, the level of information and support was very limited. I attended a breastfeeding workshop, which was a two hour group session with my midwife, who happened to be the breastfeeding expert in our area.

I knew that I wanted to breastfeed and was adamant that I would, regardless, I never bought any bottles, or a steriliser. I am one of those people that needs to know as much information as I can about a subject beforehand, so I went to the local library and found as many books as I could about childbirth and breastfeeding, and spent the pregnancy reading them all.

Many things have changed over the past fifteen years, and the level of support and information about breastfeeding has increased quite significantly.

When Tyrus was born in 2011, I was offered a telephone call from the local breastfeeding team, however I felt quite well equipped to deal with my sixth, but it was nice to know if I did have any problems that someone was at the end of a telephone.

The breastfeeding team consists of a group of trained practitioners who are always on hand to answer any questions or queries; they arrange visits to see new breastfeeding mums and their babies, if ever there is a problem someone is always available to help. They also have a number of voluntary peer supporters who work alongside them.

As the months went by, I made the decision that I had been very fortunate with my breastfeeding journey, although I knew many that hadn’t and as it is something I am very passionate about, I enquired about using my knowledge and experience to help others.
In March 2012 I undertook a two day UNICEF training course to become a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter. The area that I am in is Great Yarmouth & Waveney, and the group of supporters that we have are just fab.

Breast Friends are a dedicated group of peer supporters, trained in Breastfeeding Management by the UNICEF trained NHS East Coast Community Healthcare Breastfeeding Team.

We are all mothers with personal experience of breastfeeding who come from a variety of backgrounds with very different experiences of our breastfeeding journey.

We are always available at the local Baby Cafes to support mums before and during their breastfeeding experience. You will also find us offering help and advice at the local hospital, on the maternity ward, delivery suite and Special Care Baby unit.

I love visiting the Baby Cafe and spending time with the new mums and their bundles of joy, and love helping in any way I can. I also help to run a breastfeeding workshop once a month to provide information for mums to be and their partners, very much like the original one I attended and also with the same midwife that supported me all those years ago, so I know they are being given the best support. I am also on the postnatal ward every Monday morning, helping new mums with any breastfeeding problems or queries or just to offer support. I adore being a Peer Supporter and once this little bundle is born I shall definitely look to doing this as a full time career.

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You can follow Mandi on Facebook and on Twitter too.

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