I don’t know about you but once I’d mastered the knack of breastfeeding, I felt that I wanted to save the world, one breastfeeding mama at a time. With various media outlets pitting mothers against each other (breast or bottle, co-sleep or own room, natural birth or caesarean. And let’s get real, the formula companys are pros at this too) I really felt the need to shout that all mamas are trying their best and whilst research categorically sides with breastfeeding/breastmilk, some mamas choose not to for whatever reason. Whilst these mothers have made their decision, there are mamas who desperately want to breastfeed but are struggling and I felt duty bound to help. I decided I wanted to be a peer supporter. “What’s a peer supporter?” I hear you say. Well, number one, you obviously havent read my first ever blog post. Number two, I’m going to explain a bit about the characteristics of a peer supporter and how she goes about her work.
To be a peer supporter….
- She needs to have breastfed her own baby
- Can make time to volunteer, is reliable and committed to supporting other mothers
- Is a good listener, interested in other people, caring and friendly
- She has to have a recommendation from a worker in a breastfeeding field and is happy to have a DBS check
A peer supporter….
- Enthusiastically shares information about breastfeeding to pregnant women, mothers and all family members
- Does not give advice, just support, encouragement and empowerment
- Enables mamas to have a positive breastfeeding experience
- Is a member of a peer supporting team
- Understands that her family comes first but that peer supporting comes a close second
- Not a breastfeeding expert. A Peer Supporter is not a ‘problem solver.’(realbabymilk.org (2017))
This is a flavour of what to expect when you embark on your decision of whether to become a peer supporter.
Peer supporting was something that I wanted so desperately to do, yet I researched it and came to the understanding that in order to give the support that a struggling mama required and deserved, I just couldn’t make that commitment at that time in my life.
You can, however, still find me high fiving breastfeeding mamas, offering words of encouragement and support to stressed looking mamas in waitrose and getting my jugs out (baby attached, I haven’t quite lost my mind yet!) at my local softplay!
If you fancy looking into becoming a peer supporter or want to start the training, below are some good sites to look at.
Or check your local maternity services.
realbabymilk.org (2017) ‘What is a peer supporter?’ [online] Avaiable from https://realbabymilk.org/what-is-a-peer-supporter/