Breastfeeding peer supporters - Local mum-to-mum support

Local mum-to-mum support
Breastfeeding peer supporters are volunteer local mums that are currently breastfeeding or have breastfed their own baby and would like to support other mums and babies to enjoy breastfeeding. In County Durham these mums have also completed a recognised training programme which means that they have learnt about breastfeeding, how it works and how to recognize and overcome potential barriers to successful breastfeeding. Peer supporters can offer breastfeeding information and support in a variety of settings, such as antenatal sessions, on postnatal wards, at clinics and at support groups and Breastfeeding Cafés. They will be easily recognisable as they will be wearing a purple peer supporter polo shirt with the Breastfeeding County Durham and Darlington logo on.

Peer supporters are not trained to treat medical conditions in either you or your baby; but are able to direct you to the best source of support and help from a health professional.

As mums themselves they all appreciate the challenges of being a new parent, particularly in the early days with a baby! They are great listeners and are skilled at supporting you to enjoy your breastfeeding experience, whether this is your first baby or not. They all give their free time willingly to provide support.

They can offer you reassurance and confidence to breastfeed for as long as you wish. If you would like to be put in touch with a peer supporter please ask your health professional who will be able to provide you with further details.

My story
“There were a number of reasons why I enrolled on the peer supporter course. Firstly I’m still breastfeeding my youngest son who’s two and a half. I felt like I was in the minority and wanted to find out why people stopped feeding earlier. I also breastfed my daughter and had a fairly straightforward and easy breastfeeding journey with both of my children.

A lot of new mams would tell me “I don’t know how you could do it” or “it's not for me” and I felt unable to fully inform them of all of the benefits - so it seemed like the training would be ideal. I wanted to find out what problems others may encounter hoping I may be able to offer support. I’m also very interested in views about feeding in public. I’m very comfortable with it now, but struggled initially.

Before the training started I wasn’t sure how I would feel about attending the weekly classes, I ended up loving them. The trainer was fantastic. She really put the class at ease and I was amazed at how much I learnt about breastfeeding and how much wrong information I'd been given about it in the past.

I think the role of peer support could be the missing link between new mum and health professional. Someone who’s breastfed themselves and can support a new mum, listen to any barriers she may encounter and offer suggestions and support. I am hoping to use my training to help at my local baby cafe and I have also applied to volunteer at the hospital to support new breastfeeding mums”.