The Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (L&D) has recruited 12 volunteers to support new mums with breastfeeding.
The Breastfeeding Peer Supporters, who breastfed their own babies, have recently undertaken 12 weeks of training which was celebrated with a graduation event attended by the Mayor of Luton, Councillor Naseem Ayub.
Jacky Simmonds, Infant Feeding Advisor at the L&D, said: “For many mothers breastfeeding comes naturally and is fairly easy to establish, but for others there can be difficulties to overcome, especially in the early hours and days.
“Having skilled and knowledgeable breastfeeding peer supporters who can listen to and support these mothers, can make a huge difference. This early support is vital to enable mothers to achieve their feeding goals and to promote the healthiest outcomes for their baby and their family.”
Cllr Naseem Ayub, Mayor of Luton said: “It was an honour attending the breastfeeding supporter graduation event to present awards to 12 special volunteers who will be supporting new mums to breastfeed their newborn babies. Having a bad personal experience breastfeeding when I became a new mum, it makes me happy to know that help is now available at the L&D for new mums who attempt to breastfeed their newborn.
She continued: “I want to congratulate Jacky Simmonds (Infant Feeding Advisor), Jane Neesam (Tutor) and Sarah Sehgal (supervisor) on this brilliant initiative training volunteers which I am sure will be a welcome step for providing support to new mothers.”
“Nearly all mothers are able to breastfeed, however, to do so successfully good information and support is essential, which our Breastfeeding Peer Supporters can provide.”
The UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world and even those mothers who want to breastfeed often stop long before they intend to, due to the lack of support.
Breastfeeding has some of the most wide-reaching and long-lasting effects on a baby’s health and development, protecting them from the risk of infections, allergies, cancers and diseases.
To families of all our patients, we wanted to give a reminder that sadly, at both Bedford and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, we are still unable to allow any visitors on site, unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example in maternity or children’s departments, or for those patients who are receiving palliative treatment at the end of their lives, on a case-by-case basis.
At Bedford we will call one designated member of family every day between 1.30pm and 4.30pm with a daily phone update. Those who miss a call back during this time and are concerned can contact the helpline on 01234 730500.
For the Luton & Dunstable, we are offering a dedicated Next of Kin helpline for family members who want to check up on their loved ones – please nominate one family member to call 01582 718884 between 8am and 6pm.