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Breastfeeding support for Lochaber

Issued: 28 Sep 2010

Women leaving hospital after having a baby in the Lochaber area will soon start receiving telephone calls from mums who have breastfed their own children offering help and support from someone with firsthand experience.

A group of seven Lochaber mothers, who responded to an appeal for mothers to train as volunteer breastfeeding peer supporters, have just completed a four-week training course delivered by National Childbirth Trust trainer Sally Butt.

This training, which involved four sessions each lasting four hours with additional six reflective practice sessions, will enable them to offer support to post-natal women after they leave hospital to help them breastfeed successfully.

NHS Highland Infant Feeding Advisor Janet Kellock, who is also a practicing midwife, said: “Many mothers have difficulties in the early days that result in them stopping breastfeeding. We have found that 70% of mother’s breastfeed at delivery but by the time they are discharged home from hospital this has fallen to around 53%.

“I am confident that with the peer supporters in place to support new mums when they leave hospital there will be less of a drop. A friendly voice or reassuring advice from someone who has experienced breastfeeding and possible difficulties is sometimes all that is required to keep a mum breastfeeding.”

The community midwives and health visitors will be the primary support for breastfeeding mothers but the peer supporters will compliment the service offered by health professionals.

Mrs Kellock said: “Breastfeeding is the best start in life for a newborn baby and offers health benefits for both mum and baby.

“Benefits for the baby include reducing the risk of gastroenteritis, childhood infections, diabetes and obesity while benefits for the mother include reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

“Breastfeeding is free and convenient which is a bonus in today’s financial climate”

The Lochaber peer supporters have already set up a breastfeeding support group in the health centre in Fort William on the first Thursday of every month between 11am and 12.30pm as well as St Mary’s church hall, Glencoe village on the third Friday of every month between 10am and 12 noon.

For more information please contact peer support coordinator Gemma Shepherd on 07917 474101 or your midwife or Health Visitor.

Further information:

Bookbug Sessions take place every Tuesday in Fort William library from 10.30.-11.00am and are fun, informal and free. There is no need to book and sessions include songs, stories and rhymes and are a great opportunity for parents to spend some quality time with their little one.

The Bookbug Sessions have lots of benefits for children, such as building up their confidence and social skills and giving their speech and language development a real boost. They encompass play, learning, and development of social relationships and help to foster emotional and physical wellbeing.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme