Mums-to-be and new mothers in Renfrewshire are now just a text away from getting support and advice about breastfeeding.
Under the buddying scheme, devised by the Breastfeeding Network (BfN), women are put in touch with trained volunteers or “phone buddies” who will text responses to questions and give encouragement.
Launched by Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership’s Project-Good 4 You, all volunteers will have had three months of accredited peer support training.
Carole Anderson, Health Inequalities Projects Health Improvement Senior – Infant Feeding, explained:
“In the early weeks with a new baby some mums find breastfeeding a bit of a struggle. It can be easier if they have a breast buddy who has breastfed and has been trained by the BfN in breastfeeding support.
“They can then pass on their knowledge and experience. Information is also passed on about local breastfeeding groups.
“When women join up we will ask a few questions about their pregnancy and their previous breast feeding experience, as well as their name and phone number.
“All information is treated in confidence.”
The buddies work on a due date month rota when all mothers due that month will be their buddy.
If there are too many mothers in one month for the buddy to look after, the local co-ordinator will take on some mums, or pass some onto another buddy.
All BfN phone buddies are mums who have completed accredited peer support training and have experience of supporting women at breastfeeding groups across Renfrewshire.
Ongoing training keeps phone buddies up-to-date with the latest knowledge, research and skill in breastfeeding support
Notes for Editors
1. Scotland’s NHS boards have been set a target by the Scottish Government to increase the proportion of newborn children exclusively breastfed at 6-8 weeks from 26.6% to 33.3% by 2011.
2. Evidence shows that the health benefits for babies who receive breast milk have a reduced risk of gastrointestinal, chest, urine and ear infections, eczema and asthma. Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and hip fractures in later life, caused by the bone disease osteoporosis.
3. The World Health Organisation recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed until the age of six months, and that breastfeeding continues until two years and beyond.
4. Women are three times more likely to stop breastfeeding in the first two weeks if none of their friends breastfeed.
5. Almost 90% of women with friends who breastfeed their children also plan to breastfeed their own babies. Where women don’t have friends who breastfeed, the percentage drops to 51%.
For more information contact either NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]ggc.scot.nhs.uk.