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Guest post: Anna, becoming a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter

September 21, 2012

Amoralia recently ‘met’ Anna, randomly, via a twitter conversation about becoming a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter.

We asked Anna if she could tell us how she got involved with this, and why…becoming a breastfeeding peer supporter

Anna writes:

Today was an exciting day for me. I started a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter course. This was a fairly big deal for two reasons.

1) I am fairly passionate about breastfeeding and…

2) When The Princess (my 2 year old daughter) was born I had a difficult time with anxiety and depression. I rarely left the house by myself, and the only group I really took part in was a six-week baby massage class, which was usually precluded by tears and arguments fuelled by fear and panic. By the time I was in a position to go to the local breastfeeding support group, I was back at work and the day the group was held inevitably clashed with the days I worked. So despite my enthusiasm for breastfeeding, I’ve never been involved in a real life breastfeeding group.

But today that changed. I met a truly lovely group of mums, all with different stories and reasons for wanting to become Peer Supporters, but all with a passion and desire to promote breastfeeding.

The area in which I live is not the most affluent, to put it mildly. Unemployment rates are high, educational standards are low, and there are a high number of young mums. According to the NCT, these factors are likely to mean that breastfeeding is less likely to happen. I learned today that in this area, only around 60% of new mums attempt to breastfeed, which is 20% lower than the national average. By the time the baby is six weeks old, only 30-40% are still being breastfed, 5-15% below the national average. This is why I was so upset when the government decided to cut the funding for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week last year, and why I feel so privileged to be able to undertake this Peer Supporter course. The necessary support for mums who want to breastfeed, and the message of how good breastfeeding is for mum and baby, just obviously aren’t reaching enough new mums in this city. In fact, these figures show that support and information are obviously lacking nationwide, given that over 80% of new mums begin breastfeeding, but just over half manage to continue beyond six weeks.

Over the next seven weeks, I’m looking forward to hearing about the breastfeeding experiences of other mums, to learning about providing support, and to learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding. I’m very excited about my journey towards becoming a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter, and feel very honoured to have been given this opportunity.

Additional reading: NCT’s PDF on Baby Feeding Statistics from the 2010 Infant Feeding Survey

Anna tweets at @annadummymummy and writes a wonderful blog over at www.dummymummy.co.uk

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