MUMS in the Wigan area looking to breastfeed their newborn babies will be able to seek support from a new, intensive home counselling service.
Charity Breastfeeding Network has launched a one-to-one support service, which sees each mother using the service paired with a Peer Supporter, a trained counsellor and advisor.
The Peer Supporter gives them a mobile phone number and visits them in their home for personal appointments, or can be called at any time to discuss any problem.
BfN is also expanding the range of antenatal classes, support groups and drop-in services offered at its centre on Windermere Road, Leigh.
Media relations officer Judith Fryer said: “The team are all mothers themselves who have been there and done it, and the idea is to introduce women to the idea of breastfeeding.
“It’s about offering support which means they can ring up and arrange home visiting at a time to suit them, and ensuring the support is there for weeks and months if that’s what the mother wants.”
The new service has been part-funded by NHS Ashton, Wigan and Leigh and has seen the creation of 12 full-time jobs co-ordinating the support network.
Breastfeeding Network is now seeking to recruit more volunteers who want to train as Peer Supporters to expand the service. Peer Supporter schemes are already running in London and Scotland and have also been successfully introduced to Blackpool.
Alison Healey, from NHS Ashton, Leigh & Wigan and Wigan Council, said: “Fewer mothers in Wigan choose to breastfeed in comparison to most other parts of the United Kingdom, and of those who do start breastfeeding many will give up before the baby is six weeks old.
“Support from a Peer Supporter will hopefully enable those mothers who have decided to breastfeed to continue longer.
“Mothers report that they all really appreciate the support given to them by mothers who have breastfed themselves.”