NHS Grampian has launched a new initiative that aims to give extra support to mums and their babies across the region.
The move – coinciding with the start of Scottish Breastfeeding Week which runs from June 19 to 25 – saw 60 support workers in the North-east sign up to offer friendly, personal advice and practical help with breastfeeding for mothers across the region.
The volunteers all have experience with breastfeeding and have now been trained to provide guidance to pregnant women and to those who have started breastfeeding.
Mums can chat with a peer supporter in Aberdeen Maternity Hospital or Dr Gray’s Hospital; over the phone; in a venue of their choice, or at their local breastfeeding group.
Hayley Lockerbie, a peer supporter, said: “It’s a place to share problems and issues with breastfeeding. It’s always better to talk about it with others.
“The main problems are just with positioning and attachment, because there is a lack of information about the mechanisms of it.
“As a mum who has successfully breastfed twin boys, I feel that I could offer help to anyone in the area who is having issues.”
Recent research carried out among mothers in the North-east found that many were not aware of the full range of support available to them, and felt they needed more help, particularly after their baby has just been born.
Anja Leman, of Garthdee, who attends the Garthdee Group, said: “My baby has come on in leaps and bounds since we started coming here.
“I had lots of questions when I first spoke to the peer support worker because the pressures of having a baby can be overwhelming. But it’s great to know there is always someone you can speak to, or even just send a quick message to and meet up for a chat.”
Community midwife and peer support co-ordinator Theresa Hendry said: It’s all about normalising breastfeeding and who better to teach mums than mums?
“We hope to make it easier for mums to breastfeed anywhere, and to encourage more accessibility.”
The latest development to services follows a push by NHS Grampian and Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership to get more businesses to back a scheme to support breastfeeding.