Meet the supermums – juggling their own family responsibilities with helping other mums get the hang of breastfeeding in the early days with their new arrivals.
Like anything in life, it’s always easier to get the hang of something if you have a friend who has been through it – and a group of mums from the East End of Glasgow are doing just that by becoming breastfeeding peer supporters.
This year alone, the ten Breastfeeding Network (BfN) peer support volunteers have helped over 100 mums on their breastfeeding journey. This is World Breast Feeding Awareness Week, so a good time for the mums to come together to celebrate what they have achieved.
Breastfeeding rates are seeing a steady increase in North East Glasgow, going from 17.9% to 20.1% in the last two years, amongst mums exclusively breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks after birth.
Christine Walker works in Glasgow City HSCP as a Health Improvement Senior within Maternal and Infant Nutrition. She said: “The support they have given comes in lots of different forms – from helping new mums who have just given birth at the Princess Royal Maternity to coming along to regular breastfeeding support and antenatal workshops and even working on the National Breastfeeding Helpline, which means mums never need to feel alone when at home with their baby.
“Nobody is saying that breastfeeding is easy – particularly in the very early days. That’s where the peer supporters come into their own. These are mums who have been through it all, the highs and lows of being a new mum. And they are there to be a friend when women need it most.
“I am so grateful to each and every one of them for giving their time so freely to help other woman.”
Stacey Steele (32) from Ruchazie has trained as a peer supporter and has been helping mums for almost a year now. Her son Ben, now 13 months, was born in the Princess Royal Maternity.
Stacey said: “I was really lucky that Ben latched on right away and I know it’s not always that easy for mums. The books don’t tell you it can be hard to breastfeed in the beginning, but it’s so worth it in the long run.
“As a peer supporter I get to help other mums who choose to breastfeed. Sometimes I go into the Princess Royal and I also attend antenatal classes and breastfeeding support groups.
“My Health Visitor was a great help from day one and it was her who encouraged me to become a peer supporter.
“How to feed your baby is very much a personal choice and people shouldn’t judge you one way or another. It’s natural and not something to be ashamed of.
“The important thing is whatever choice mums make, they need to know the support is there if they choose the breastfeeding route.”
For more information contact: NHSGGC press office on 0141 201 4429 or [email protected]