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Mums are being encouraged to seek out their local breastfeeding support group at children’s centres up and down the county – and there’s a local group near you.
Mum2Mum, the Wiltshire Council-funded scheme, which started two years ago, trains mums who have experienced breastfeeding themselves so they can then provide support to other mums in a relaxed and welcoming environments.
The scheme relies on the goodwill and commitment of dedicated volunteers who have to complete an accredited eight-week training course. Currently there are around 100 active Mum2Mum volunteers supporting women in hospital and community settings across Wiltshire.
Melksham’s Mum2Mum group meets at the Canberra Children’s Centre, Spa Road, SN12 7NY on Thursdays 10.30 am – 12.00 pm. Tel. 01225 705225.
The groups have many different functions including:
• An important source of social support for many women.
• Reassurance for some women as they establish breastfeeding and gain confidence, particularly for those who are breastfeeding for the first time.
• Somewhere to bring concerns about breastfeeding although those with complex feeding problems will be signposted to their midwife or health visitor.
• A place to share experiences about feeding and about being a parent more generally.
Maggie Rae, Wiltshire Council corporate director said, “It’s very important we raise the profile of breastfeeding locally and make sure people know where they can go if they need a little support.
“Breastfeeding can be a daunting for some new mums so we hope the relaxed atmosphere that each of the Mum2Mum groups creates is reassuring and comforting. We know that the more relaxed the mum, the more relaxed the baby and the easier feeding becomes.
“I’d also like to thank all the volunteers for their huge commitment in helping us run these groups. It really is appreciated, not only by us, but the many mums they are helping up and down the county.”
Many services work together to make the scheme a success. This includes maternity services where peer support co-ordinators are based, children’s centres which provide day to day support for the volunteers and host the groups, and health visiting and maternity services which promote the scheme to mums.
Mum Jo Makwana has had a positive experience with a Mum2Mum group, and has even gone on to sign up to train as a Mum2Mum peer supporter. She said, “Discovering we were going to have another baby was amazing, however throughout my pregnancy one thing bothered me – feeding. I hadn’t managed to feed any of my other children for more than three weeks. Someone suggested a visit to a Mum2Mum group. I was encouraged to go before my baby was born, which I did. I was offered a hot drink, amazing homemade cake, an understanding ear and lots of advice.
“When my baby was born I knew the group was there and I could pop in if needed for advice and support. I became very ill a week after having my son and was re-admitted to hospital with blood poisoning, this occurred due to an abscess caused by mastitis.
The group became invaluable during this time as it was tough going, some group members sent messages and one even popped in to see me on the ward to see if they could help.
When I was discharged I continued to use my local group, Little Folly. There have been ups and downs and there is always someone to celebrate or commiserate with me. Eleven weeks on we are still feeding happily.”