A Day in the Life of a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter

Breastfeeding 2

The Calderdale Breastfeeding Peer Support Service currently has almost 50  volunteers who donate more than 150 hours a month to support new mums in Calderdale on their breastfeeding journeys. They can provide support in a number of ways, including home visits, support at Baby Café’s and breastfeeding groups, and can provide a seven day service through hospital visits and providing support by telephone.

We spent the day with the service to find out more!
Bridget Hall is the Calderdale Breastfeeding Peer Supporter Co-ordinator and knows the stats only too well –   “up to 80% of mums begin breastfeeding”, she says, “so support within those first few weeks can be crucial”. However, women can access the support of the Breastfeeding Peer Supporters at any time during their breastfeeding journey. These volunteer Supporters provide help and advice on a number of questions and concerns, including hand expression and storage, positioning and attaching baby at the breast and mums returning to work. Breastfeeding Peer Supporters will also signpost women to further medical support if required.
So, taking a typical day, the first visit was to the Calderdale Baby Café, based at Halifax Dance Academy which was full to bursting with new mums, their new-born babies and a number of dads, grandmas, aunties and sisters providing support along the way.

The Baby Cafe offers specialist support to breastfeeding mums experiencing persistent and complex breastfeeding problems. Support is provided by experienced and trained health professionals including infant feeding advisors, midwives, health visitors and maternity support workers. The Baby Cafe also provides support with all aspects of breastfeeding and offers the opportunity to chat to other mums and Breastfeeding Peer Supporters.

Mums often signpost to this service themselves, but can also be referred after a telephone consultation with a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter.
The room had a fantastic bustling, yet relaxing, vibe and those attending were also able to make use of the children’s play area to entertain older siblings and self-weigh service on offer too.

The Breastfeeding Peer Supporters were kept incredibly busy, and were making their way around the room, knitted breasts in hand, speaking to mums about their experiences and signposting them to further support from a Health Visitor and Infant Feeding Advisor, which is also provided at the session. Some of the mums had been seen by the Breastfeeding Peer Supporters on the maternity wards of Calderdale Royal Hospital, and it’s great to see the Peer Supporters continuing to be part of their journey.
The Breastfeeding Group at Illingworth’s Children’s Centre was the next stop and had a noticeably different atmosphere, a social space where mums could engage with their peers, make new friends in their community and encourage their toddlers to play together.

A free baby massage class was in full swing and even though only one mum accessed the support of a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter in the short time Bridget was there, the discussions were all very affirming, if one woman walked through the door and found the support she needed on that day, whether that be advice with a specific breastfeeding concern or just a general chat with someone who could place themselves in her shoes, it was worthwhile.
Many of the breastfeeding peer supporters spoke of the same reasons for volunteering in this role; being able to give something back and share their knowledge and skills. However, it also seemed that many of the supporters had also found something in the service for themselves. Bridget explained that many of the Breastfeeding Peer Supporters go on to study and find careers born from their voluntary experiences. One Peer Supporter, Sarah Hanrahan had just begun a role as a Midwifery Assistant at Calderdale Royal Hospital, and enthused about how being a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter had given her the confidence to apply for the role.
Mums can self-refer to the service by contacting the team on 07920 466 660 or 030 0304 5076. Information on breastfeeding support can be found here.

Calderdale Update

The latest edition of the Locala Calderdale Update has been issued to schools and GPs.

You can find a copy here. The Autumn Term edition includes information on

  • An overview of the Health Visiting Offer
  • Getting Ready for Baby Classes
  • Well Baby Clinics
  • Weaning Groups
  • Breastfeeding peer support
  • School nursing
  • Public Health campaigns

Calderdale newsletter – FINAL – Autumn 2018

World Breastfeeding Week

Calderdale Breastfeeding volunteers provide 150 hours of support to new mums every month.

Baby Cafe
In support of World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August) and the recent UK Breastfeeding Week, Locala’s team of Breastfeeding Peer Supporters were out and about raising awareness about the services they provide to new mums in Calderdale.
Calderdale Breastfeeding Peer Supporters are volunteers who have breastfed a child for at least four months, and support mums in locations including Children’s Centres, hospitals and Baby Café’s, as well as providing support over the phone and home visits. There are currently 56 volunteer Breastfeeding Peer Supporters in Calderdale, providing around 150 hours of support every month.  The team often work alongside Midwives and Health Visitors helping mothers to achieve their breastfeeding goals.
The Peer Supporters visited Todmorden Children’s Centre, where the breastfeeding group held a Women’s Health morning. Mums were treated to a free back massage and received information and support from Physiotherapists regarding after birth recovery, and had the opportunity to ask questions and access the support offered by the Breastfeeding Peer Supporters.
The team also visited Calderdale Baby Café, Jubilee Children’s Centre, Wellholme Park Children’s Centre, Boothtown Children’s Centre and Illingworth Children’s Centre.
If you would like to receive support from one of the team contacting our telephone helpline on 07920466660 or attend one of the breastfeeding support groups. Mums also have the opportunity to speak to Peer Supporters in hospital, Baby Cafés and antenatal clinics. More information can be found on the Infant Feeding section of the Locala website, here http://www.locala.org.uk/your-healthcare/infant-feeding/breastfeeding-support/
If you would like help make a difference and share your skills and experience why not join the Peer Support Team. One of the Calderdale Peer Supporters who has recently left the service to pursue midwifery training said: ‘Over the last 5 years I have had the pleasure of supporting mums with breastfeeding in lots of locations. It has made me want to support mums more around this amazing time of pregnancy and birth. What we do as peer supporters is amazingly simple, we listen without judgement!’

If you are able to volunteer around 2 -3 hours each week Locala would like to hear from you. More information can be found on the Locala website here: www.locala.org.uk/about-us/volunteering/

Influencing healthy eating habits through early years settings

New example menus and recipes have been published to help early years providers plan healthy, tasty meals for young children.

The resources have been jointly developed by the Department for Education, the Department of Health and Public Health England, with advice from a panel of early years and nutrition experts including the British Nutrition Foundation.This series of example menus and associated guidance has been developed to support early years settings (such as nurseries and childminders) to offer food and drink in line with current government dietary recommendations for infants and children aged 6 months to 4 years.  The documents include example menus and useful information for early years settings to help show how they can meet the Early Years Foundation Stage welfare requirement to provide ‘healthy, balanced and nutritious’ meals for children.  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/example-menus-for-early-years-settings-in-england


New clinic locations for Lower Valley

Monday am Tuesday am Weds am Thurs am Fri
Stainland Road (GP)GREETLAND 10.30-12.00 Elland CC ELLAND 09.00-11.00(Tiny Treasures CC activity) Wellholme CC BRIGHOUSE 09.30-11.30(Tiny Treasures CC activity)
Monday pm Tuesday pm Weds pm Thurs pm Fri
Shelf Clinic (GP) 1st & 3rd of the month SHELF  13.30-14.30 (CARITAS) Field Lane Children’s Centre RASTRICK  (Tiny Treasures CC activity)13.30-15.00

Northowram and Shelf Children’s Centre NORTHOWRAM 13.00-15.00

Whinney Hill Community Centre LYDGATE 12.30-14.00(Messy Monkeys Wellholme CC activity     09.15-10.45