Peer Supporters Ensure Mums Have The 'Breaststart'

New mums are being supported with breastfeeding helpful hints, tips and encouragement from peer supporters and volunteers alongside health visitors.

Volunteers are giving up their time to offer help and advice to other mums through Breaststart groups.

Across Lincolnshire there are 18 Breaststart groups which are facilitated by health visiting teams from Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) and are supported by breastfeeding peer supporters and volunteers.

Peer supporter Hannah Davies, a veterinary nurse and baby signing teacher from Peterborough had a traumatic time trying to breastfeed her son Evan.

"I was in agony trying to breastfeed Evan. Everywhere I looked online, it said breastfeeding was the most natural thing in the world, which made me feel worse.

"I was helped by a wonderful lady at the hospital and after going cold turkey for four weeks I was able to get him to latch on pain-free for the first time!"

Hannah attended the Market Deeping Breaststart Group for on-going support and decided to do the Breaststart peer supporter course and is now helping struggling mums successfully breastfeed.

"Through the course I learned useful expressing tips, massage techniques and so much more. It's very much about trusting the babies and being confident.

"I helped my first mum in May who was a friend who had recently had a baby. I helped her change her positioning to help her baby to latch on comfortably and it worked. It was amazing to see mummy, baby and daddy happy."

"Being a Breaststart peer supporter is fantastic, building my confidence and that of new mums and helping them when they are really struggling is very rewarding."

Six courses were run across the county including Birchwood, Louth, Gainsborough, Grantham, Boston and Skegness with 48 peer supporters receiving training.

Katie Skuse is a mum of one from Lincoln who is a peer supporter at two Breaststart groups, Birchwood and St Giles.

"I had help when I had difficulties breastfeeding my daughter when she was two weeks old from a Breaststart group," she said.

"I enjoy coming to the groups and I've made lots of friends. I became a peer supporter because I don't want other mums to go through what I did.

"I speak to mums to find out if they are having any problems and offer them a friendly ear and advice."

Rebecca McConville, Locality Lead for South West at LCHS, said: "National Breastfeeding week (June 20-26) shone a light on the fact that breastfeeding not only has many benefits for both mum and baby, but also that everyone is different and some mums can be overwhelmed and find breastfeeding challenging. The Breaststart groups across the county provide families with a relaxed, safe environment where they can get advice from either a health professional, peer supporters and volunteers.

"We would encourage families to call in and see what these wonderful groups have to offer, the peer supporters are a fantastic support and source of knowledge."

To find your nearest Breaststart group, visit and type in your town or postcode.

The website also includes a range of information and advice, as well as other helpful contact numbers.