Judy's Peer Support Journey
Hello! It’s Judy again! If you didn’t see my post earlier in the week, I am a SAHM and I have two boys who are 4 and 2 years old. I am also a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter which is what I’m going to talk about here.
Before having my two sons I hardly knew anything about Breastfeeding, once I fell pregnant I just knew that I wanted to do it. I became passionate about breastfeeding when I started feeding my eldest (I’m not sure exactly when).
On the Maternity ward, I had at least two Peer Supporters visit me with my first son and if it wasn’t for them I think my breastfeeding journey would have been quite different. My passion for breastfeeding and the way the Peer Supporters helped me got me looking into how I could train to also become a Peer Supporter or Breastfeeding Councillor. Soon after, I saw online that my local NHS Trust were starting a Peer Supporter Course soon. I got a place on the course and had weekly training for a few months before graduating from the course (where I got this knitted boob as well as a book by Prof Amy Brown (check her out) and a doll).
For just over a year now I have been volunteering in the Maternity Hospital when I gave birth to both of my sons. I go in once a week in an evening where the midwives direct me to the women who are wanting to breastfeed. I go to as many as I can while I’m there, sometimes I only get to see two women and sometimes I see as many as about 6 or 7. It all depends on what the women’s needs are and how many questions they have.
A big part of my role is to help new mums with their confidence with breastfeeding and to help reassure them. I help a lot with positioning and attachment. Some of the other things I talk to the women about are hand expressing, responsive feeding (breastfeeding isn’t just about food), nappy output, feeding at least every three hours when newborn (wake baby up if necessary) as well as giving them information about where they can get breastfeeding help including telephone numbers and where all our local breastfeeding support cafes/groups are. If needed, I also teach them how to pace bottle feed if they are doing any feeds from a bottle.
It is such a rewarding role being able to help women feed their babies, I feel really privileged to be able to do it. During lockdown I haven’t been able to go on to the Maternity ward but hopefully I’ll be able to go back and support new mums soon.
Author: Judy, go check her out on Instagram @_bloomwhereyouareplanted_.