In order to provide the best breastfeeding support to new mothers, County Health Partnerships (part of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust) in partnership with Sure Start have developed a Breastfeeding Peer Support volunteer programme, which is proving to be very popular with new mums and their families.
Many mothers-to-be would like to breastfeed their baby, and once their baby is born, currently 82% of new mothers are putting their baby to the breast at birth.
Breastfeeding can be trying for some, and mothers who access support, whether from their midwife or health visitor or from their partner, friends or family, find they are better able to cope with the demands that a new baby brings.
The Breastfeeding Peer Support volunteer programme, developed in Nottinghamshire County, encourages individuals in the local community who have good breastfeeding experience to step forward to help new mums. The volunteers access 20 hours of free training, they then attend baby and breastfeeding encouragement and support (BABES) groups within the local area.
The Peer Supporters provide new mums with much needed extra support, and fabulous tips about how to make breastfeeding work for them. They also telephone new mums within a few days of coming home from hospital to offer support and build confidence.
A new mum recently had a telephone call from a Peer Supporter and commented: “Thank goodness you called, I was in a right state was going to give up.”
Theresa Drozdowska, Health Improvement Practitioner at County Health Partnerships commented: “I can’t praise the volunteers enough. They give up their time so that they can make a difference to the new mums they see, it really is fabulous.
I am so grateful to the health visitors and midwives who have embraced the Peer Support volunteers. The volunteers complement the support given by the health professionals and new mums really appreciate their help and advice.”
Many mothers give up breastfeeding within the first 10 days. We know that 90% of these new mothers, who have given up, wish they had been able to continue for much longer. The Peer Support volunteer programme will hopefully enable new mums to continue breastfeeding for longer whilst providing extra support for them along the way.
Any mums who have breastfed can enrol to become breastfeeding volunteers. If you are interested in becoming a Peer Supporter, want to find out more, or want to know where your nearest BABES group is, speak to your health visitor or midwife or contact Theresa Drozdowska on Theresa.Drozdowska@nottshc-chp.nhs.uk.