Breastfeeding Peer Support Celebration Event

07/02/2020

Our Maternity Services and Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department hosted a celebration and update event for volunteer Breastfeeding Peer Support Mums recently. The event, held at St Columb’s Park House, Londonderry focused on recognising and supporting challenges women may encounter whilst breastfeeding and promoting good maternal and infant physical and mental health.

Breastfeeding can make a real difference to the health of both mothers and babies. Breast milk contains all the nourishment a baby needs for healthy development and reduces their risk of asthma, ear, chest, kidney and stomach infections, as well as childhood diabetes and obesity. Breastfeeding also helps to build a strong bond and close mother-baby relationship.

Although a number of national and regional initiatives promoting these benefits have contributed to a significant improvement in breastfeeding rates in Northern Ireland, we continue to have one of the lowest rates across Europe.

Jemma Theobald, Health Improvement Nutritionist, Community Food & Nutrition Team explains: “It’s vitally important that we continue promoting the benefits of breastfeeding and also strive to normalize it as the most normal and natural way of feeding a baby. We also need to develop supportive environments and attitudes to help mums establish and continue breastfeeding for as long as they wish. Partners, family members, healthcare professionals, support groups, workplaces and businesses all have a part to play in supporting breastfeeding mums.

Jemma continued: “Our peer support volunteers are such valuable assets in helping us achieve this through sharing their wealth of experience and being on hand to offer practical guidance and support to breastfeeding mums throughout the Western Trust area. We were delighted to host this event to provide recognition and thanks for the remarkable work they undertake in their own time.”

Audrey Moore, Infant Feeding Lead for the Western Trust added: “While it is important to recognize that the majority of women will choose to breastfeed their babies, unfortunately 8 out of 10 women will stop breastfeeding before they would like to, often due to issues that may be out of their control. This event aims to address some of the issues that affect women reaching their breastfeeding goals and acknowledge the emotional hurt women can experience when this happens.”

If you would like further information on Breastfeeding Peer Support, please contact Audrey.Moore@westerntrust.hscni.net or 07876841823.

To find out more about breastfeeding and activities in your local area, speak with your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding support group or check out information here – Breastfeeding Support

See also www.breastfedbabies.org for additional information on breastfeeding and the Public Health Agency ‘Breastfeeding Welcome Here’ Scheme, which encourages businesses and public facilities to support and welcome breastfeeding families.