Mums shopping at the Forge next week are being invited to come along and meet volunteers from the Glasgow Breastfeeding Initiative. As part of National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, volunteers from the initiative and professionals from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will be running a stall there to encourage more new mothers to breastfeed.
The Breastfeeding Initiative is a service provided by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to help women make informed choices about how to feed their babies. The Initiative trains other mothers who have themselves breastfed to be volunteer helpers. Advice and information is offered to new mothers whose doctors are part of the Initiative, with the aim of increasing the number of Glaswegian women who breastfeed their babies during the first six weeks and beyond.
Health Visitor Margaret Swan is a breastfeeding specialist and thinks giving women more information and support is crucial: "We work with young mums and the vast majority of them start out wanting to breastfeed but seem to fall by the wayside as time goes on.
"Having a listening ear and practical help from somebody who's been there can make all the difference. Our volunteers are all mums themselves, so they know how hard it can be – and how worthwhile it can be if you persevere.
"Quite often when mothers are out shopping, they'll take the chance to sit down and have a cup of coffee and feed the baby, so we think a shopping centre like this is the perfect place for us to meet them."
Forge Shopping Centre Manager Vince Lochrie said: "We are very happy to be involved in this joint venture to support Breastfeeding Awareness Week. We hope our customers will benefit from the information that will be available."
All volunteer helpers are mothers who have breastfed and have trained for their role using a package based on UNICEF's "Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding" and the National Breastfeeding Advisors' BEST workshops. Mothers who breastfeed are given ongoing support by volunteers in addition to the care given by midwives, health visitors and GPs.
The Breastfeeding Initiative team will be at the Forge's Duke Street entrance from 9.30 am until 4pm on Monday May 15th. For more information on how to get help, or details of how to become a volunteer, please call 0141 531 8227.
For more information please contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.