Pilot offers new mums peer support

Nicole Mooney and 36-hour old baby Imogen with Breastfeeding Network (BfN) Peer Supporter Caroline Furey.
Nicole Mooney and 36-hour old baby Imogen with Breastfeeding Network (BfN) Peer Supporter Caroline Furey.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran is testing a model which brings together maternity and health visiting services, infant feeding teams and peer supporters from an integrated infant feeding team.

This Breastfeeding Network (BfN) team is dedicated to supporting mothers to breastfeed newborn babies in a way that reflects their individual experiences and needs within the first two days of their babies being born. The pilot will focus on babies born by caesarean section initially, and support will also be available for mums and babies admitted to the neonatal unit.

Elaine Moore, lead midwife maternal and infant nutrition said: “For many women, breastfeeding is straight forward and they can breastfeed for as long as they wish without any significant challenges. However, there are things than can make it more difficult, such as if baby was born by C-section, or if baby is unwell or premature.

“What many women may not know is that with the right support, they can still breastfeed regardless of how baby was born, or if their baby is premature or unwell and many challenges can be overcome.”

During the pilot, mums will get a phone call from one of the Breastfeeding Network peer supporters within 48 hours of going home from Ayrshire Maternity Unit, offering support by phone and arranging a home visit.

Peer supporters are all women who have experience of breastfeeding their own children. They will look into whether mums need extra support from the maternity or community infant feeding nurses and give one-to-one support, for those who need it, for up to six or eight weeks.

Amy Bryson, community peer support co-ordinator said: “The home visits are easy-going, relaxed and are made to suit mums and families in the comfort of their own home. Peer supporters can also take mums and babies along to one of the many Breastfeeding Network drop-in groups or Parent and Baby Cafes which are held every week across Ayrshire.”

To contact BfN peer supporters call 01563 825403.