World Breast Feeding Awareness Week
Notts ‘Babes’ urge mum’s to think Breast during World Breast Feeding Awareness Week
New mums and pregnant women in Nottinghamshire are being urged to think ‘breast is best’ during World Breast Feeding Awareness Week.
The head of the organisation that plans and buys health services in Nottingham North and East is urging women not to suffer in silence if they’re struggling to breast feed. Support services across the County offer Breast Feeding Peer support to mums who are thinking about breast feeding their babies but may be worried about it.
Sam Walters, the Chief Operating Officer for NHS Nottingham North and East Clinical Commissioning Group said: “ I am a strong advocate for breast feeding – having breast fed my own children and understanding the incredible benefits of doing so. I would urge mum’s or pregnant women who are worried about breast feeding, to arm themselves with the facts about breast fed babies and make their decision based on the advice and information available. There are some amazing support services too so I would urge women to get in touch if they need help and advice.”
Mum of two, Kate Lester, who’s 46 and from Carlton, is one of the many support volunteers across Nottinghamshire who give up their time for free to provide confidential and informal advice to other women about breast feeding. She works from Killisick Children’s Centre in Arnold where she is supported by NHS Breast Feeding Support workers. She breast fed both her children and encourages others to take advantage of the services available in their area.
“The group is called Gedling Babes, who meet regularly at the children’s centre to talk about their experiences with other mums. The name does raise a few eyebrows but it gets their attention which is the main point! It stands for Baby and Breastfeeding Encouragement and Support.
“I decided to become a volunteer because I needed support myself when I had my daughter over nine years ago. At that time, there weren’t as many of the services available that there are now so when I had my son 4 years ago I was referred to the group for support, and my boy managed seven and a half months before he decided to that the breast was no longer for him. The group gave me so much more confidence.
“It was because of that experience that I decided to give something back and became a Breast Feeding Support Volunteer. I got 12 weeks training where I learned all about milk production in the breast, the health benefits, the NHS policies and the knowledge needed to give proper advice based on individuals’ circumstances.
“I know it’s not for everyone – for a variety of reasons but I find it so rewarding when I meet a mum who is struggling and emotional about breast feeding when she first gets in touch and when you see you her later – she’s a fully confident breast feeding mum. That’s why I do it.
“Breast milk is made for human babies. I felt it was my way of giving my children the best start. When I learned that breast feeding can actually help to reduce the likelihood of childhood stomach illnesses and allergies as well as helping mums to build resistance to a number of conditions themselves, such as osteoporosis, it seems like a no brainer. The support I got really helped me to have the confidence to make it work.
“When I had my daughter, I was in a bubble, and didn’t feel I could get out much. It is fine to ask for help and the volunteer service ‘normalises’ that concept of asking for help so it doesn’t feel like you’re seeking some kind of professional help – so to speak! As a fellow parent I also feel I can offer more than just advice and help about breast feeding. Most mum’s give up breast feeding between 3 and 6 days after having their baby, so we aim to catch as many of the new mums as possible and we’re hoping to attract pregnant women who don’t know which way to go.
Lisa Stevenson is an NHS Breast Feeding Support Worker who works from Hucknall Children’s Centre. “Breast Feeding Peer support volunteers are mainly women who are breast feeding who give up their time to talk to women who drop in for support. They also do home visits with support from the Breast Feeding Support worker. If new mums are having sleepless nights, the volunteers are best placed to provide empathy and support and are able to get women to open up about their experiences. We’re particularly keen to encourage younger mums and pregnant women as they perhaps don’t always understand the benefits of breast feeding as well and may not appreciate the actual purpose of their breasts!”
Hucknall Children’s centre 0115 9488910
Killisick Children’s Centre 0115 9931467
New mums and pregnant women from across the county should contact their nearest Children’s Centre.
Further information about the support and information about breast feeding can be found at:
NHS Choices Web site: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/breastfeeding-help-support.aspx#close