"Becoming a peer support volunteer"

About: Warsop Children's Centre

(as the patient),

I returned to college to complete my National higher Diploma in Nursing and Healthcare as I wanted to work in the care/child profession. My dream is to become a midwife. After I started my college course I found out I was expecting my first child but I still continued with the course and passed with distinction. Within my course I completed an individual research project, I had to pick a topic relevant to something or an area I wanted to work in, it also required two sides of opinions and evidence. I decided to study 'the advantages of breasfeeding and formula feeding for the mother'. I knew very little of this for breastfeeding and I did over 40 hours of research and fact finding to create a presentation and after completing this I made my own personal choice to breastfeed my baby which I was expecting in four weeks time. This was a choice I never thought I would make as I came from a formula feeding family and I thought that was the normal thing but after 40hours of research for college it became clear this was the best choice for me.

I did breastfeed exclusively for 6 months then for many reasons I stopped. My family found it alien at times as it was not something they were used to seeing and this made me very shy of feeding at any place other than home.

I first came to the Surestart children's Centre in Warsop to attend my local baby group as the midwife had passed on the details to me. My son was four weeks old at the time and at the baby group I heard some negative breastfeeding comments from other mums and therefore I did not return. Eventually a BABES (baby and breastfeeding encouragement and support) group was formed separately from the baby group but by this time I had stopped breast feeding. I did still attend the baby group and this is where I found out that they were offering peer support training, therefore I jumped at the chance and completed the course learning so much more than I already knew. All of this knowledge will help me volunteer and for my future aspirations.

I am currently 23 weeks pregnant and cannot wait to breastfeed again and help other mums gain knowledge and overcome any difficulties. I believe it is the best start for any new life.

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Response from Nottinghamshire Healthcare

Dear LucyB

Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. It really is inspiring to read how determined you have been to gain knowledge around breastfeeding and are now a Breast Feeding Peer Supporter. I am sure you will be able to support many mothers with any issues they have around breastfeeding in the local Babes group and I wish you well when your third baby arrives. I do hope when other women read your story they too will agree that breastfeeding is the best start for all babies.

Carol Pierce

Children's Centre Co-ordinator

Nottinghamshire Children & Families Partnership

(Family Action)

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