Breast feeding volunteers celebrate helping over 400 women
Earlier this year a group of 25 volunteers joined ten others who have been recruited to help provide breastfeeding support to new mothers at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH). Since January, over 400 women have been given help and support with breastfeeding from this group of specially trained volunteers.
he Breastfeeding Peer Supporters are on hand to offer support for new mums who are breastfeeding, listen to any of the womens experiences and concerns, describe effective positioning and attachment for breastfeeding and demonstrate the technique of hand expressing milk. The volunteers complement and enhance the care given by the maternity staff at the NNUH and act as a well informed friend or mentor to new mothers.
So far this year the breastfeeding peer supporters have donated 312 hours of their time to help 405 women, completing 142 shifts on the maternity wards at the hospital.
Claire Stannard gave birth to her daughter Emily at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and said: I had to spend a couple of nights on Blakeney Ward where I really struggled to get to grips with breast feeding. I was introduced to a lovely lady who was a breast feeding peer supporter. We had a chat about how I felt feeding was going and I really felt as though I could be honest with her.
She added: She wasn't in a hurry and spent lots of time talking me through different techniques to try and even waited to watch me feed so she could observe and give advice. She was non-judgemental, easy to talk to and left me feeling as though I was able to feed my baby! No one prepares you for how tough breast feeding is and I felt as though the breast feeding peer supporter was there during my biggest struggles to help me out.
Luisa Lyons, Infant Feeding Co-ordinator at the NNUH, said: Id like to thank all of our lovely volunteers who have been such a success and have made a real difference to so many women. We know that women support each other during pregnancy, childbirth and becoming a mum, so we are delighted that this group of volunteers has already helped hundreds of women to breastfeed successfully. They are a real asset to the maternity services here at the NNUH.”
The impact of the service is being measured by breastfeeding rates and feedback from mothers and staff.
Notes to editors
The volunteers have all undertaken training by the Breastfeeding Network (BfN) Charity or the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) which has been funded by Norfolk County Council Public Health. They have all completed a nationally recognised qualification with the Open College Network, taken a two day Breastfeeding Management course to UNICEF standards and have completed the hospital's induction training. In addition to this they have all had one to one assessments on their skills before volunteering on the maternity ward.