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'Support for peer supporters' thread

(93 Posts)
crikeybadger Fri 03-Jun-11 11:22:57

Join in here if you are a peer supporter or thinking of becoming one.

It's a space to share your good ideas for setting up and running groups, share concerns or offer suggestions for ways to support women with breastfeeding.

I know there's lots of peer supporters on this board so I think we can all learn a lot from each other. smile

Albrecht Fri 03-Jun-11 11:28:31

I'm in the thinking about it camp so will mainly be lurking to see what its really like... thanks for starting this.

crikeybadger Fri 03-Jun-11 11:38:23

OK, so I'll kick this off....

I'm a fairly new peer supporter, trained through the NHS and attend support groups at our local Children's Centre. I'm also hoping to train as a Mother Supporter through one of the national organisations. once I get the nod.

I would like to get together a box of resources that women can borrow from the group - books and leaflets etc.

Obviously there is no money for any of this any more so I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on-
1. How to raise some money to buy things (are grants out of the question?)
2. Which you think are the key books/ leaflets to buy?
Maybe 'tear off' sheets are easier to digest? I saw some great Biological Nurturing ones on the website the other day.

Any thoughts/suggestions would be very welcome.

crikeybadger Fri 03-Jun-11 11:41:17

Good to have you along Albrecht. smile

SuseB Fri 03-Jun-11 11:52:40

Hello all,

I'm a fairly new peer supporter too - about to embark on a new bumps and babies bf group at my house, starting next week - yikes! Am veteran mother of three breastfed babies and have done training through the NHS (put onto it by my HV, who is breastfeeding lead for the county).

Box of resources is great idea - no idea about money for grants etc. I am planning to ask for 50p donations at meetings to cover the tea and coffee, if I end up with a surplus I will buy stuff like that!

For books I love Dr Jack Newman's Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers. Also just got hold of this: Fit to Bust by Alison Blenkinsop (a former IBCLC) which is great as it has a chapter for peer supporters with ideas for groups and classes, as well as loads of lighthearted info. If you credit her you can use her stuff.

Cosmosis Fri 03-Jun-11 12:07:46

Ooh me me me!

I am also new at it, and am going to be volunteering on a 24hr helpline. I work ft so can’t do any groups which is a shame.

RufflesKerfluffles Fri 03-Jun-11 13:22:30

I will also be lurking... I would love to train as a peer supporter, but there are no groups local to me, and I wouldn't know where to start, with starting my own.

crikeybadger Fri 03-Jun-11 13:50:04

SuseB- good idea about donations for drinks. At the children's centre, we are not allowed hot drinks confused, but they do provide snacks for the children. I'll ask if it's possible to ask for donations next time I go.

Good luck with the new group btw. smile

RufflesKerfluffles- you could train with an organisation like the ABM, (all distance learning), then they would give you support and advice about how to set up a group.

moajab Sat 04-Jun-11 22:58:06

I'll be lurking! When my HV did my sons 2 yr developmental check and found out that I was still bf and that I'd also breatsfed my other two children she asked if i would be interested in being a peer supporter. I said I would and she has given my number to a midwife who will hopefully call next time they're doing training. So I'd love to hear about other people's experiences of this.

MigGril Sun 05-Jun-11 08:13:50


I'm a BfN Helper, (which is similar to a peer supporter). Did my training with the BfN last year and help with the group at our local childrens centre. Would love go on and do more taining so I can do the support phone line to.

I'd love to start helping at our local HV clinic to but the HV's have been a bit useless about it I need to push them for a decision a bit more. But I've got a small child and a baby at home at the moment so will be in a better position to help more next year, when DD is at school.

TruthSweet Sun 05-Jun-11 14:05:06

I'm a LLL trained peer supporter and have trained with ABM as a mother supporter in preparation to train as a bfc (please, please, may I get accepted <fingers & toes crossed>).

Our local peer support group has been rolled up into the NHS recently so am waiting to see how that impacts things.

I do one morning a week at a MW 10 day check clinic (though occasionally there are ante-natal mums too) and every other week I do a morning with the Well Baby Health clinic run by HV/NN (all at my local Children & Family Centre so the children have fun while I wait to be needed [not very often as bottle feeding is prevalent]).

I also go to our main drop-in group on a Friday almost every week plus the ante-natal information fair thing that the local hospital runs once a month in lieu of ante-natal classes.

I found offering to help to the C&FC manager was what worked the best. She wanted to provide bfing support (is part of the C&FC remit) and I asked if I could help out.

crikeybadger Sun 05-Jun-11 15:26:58

Wow that's a lot TruthSweet!

Helping at the 10 day check clinic sounds like a good idea. The infant feeding specialist (who is effectively our mentor) is trying to get peer supporters to help out at the ante natal clinic as well as eventually going in to the post natal ward of the hospital.

I would really love to do this, although it seems like there would be more form filling and more CRB checks to fill out. Everything just seems to take such a long time. Sigh.

I've just got my first Mother Supporter module from the ABM today smile and like you i'm thinking of going down the bfc route. Hope you get to do it- your posts are always really well informed and helpful.

So have any peer supporters got any top tips for others out there? Truthsweet, I think you said on the other thread about not jumping in immediately with bfing questions, asking more about the baby and motherhood in general. I thought this was really good advice as sometimes mothers aren't really looking for solutions, moreover just somebody to talk to. The process of talking about things might lead them to confirm how they are feeling about things.

TruthSweet Sun 05-Jun-11 16:06:43

Thanks Crikey I like reading your posts too! My main tip would be if you are there in a supporting a HCP role that introducing yourself to them as being there to free up their time really helps wink and that the mum doesn't need to be having problems for you to speak with her - you are there to offer support and encouragement too.

I find though that some will refer every single bfing mum to me problem or not and others will not refer a mum to speak to me no matter the difficulties. I had one even referring mums that were having problems bfing to the drop-in on the Friday even though it was Monday and I was just playing with my DDs waiting to help just feet away. I joked after the clinic was over that sometimes it was nice to be not needed as that meant all the mums were happy with their feeding choices all all was going well which was good. She replied that one of the mums was having difficulties bfing so she referred her to the Friday drop-in. My jaw nearly hit the floor - what did she think I was there for?

I also talk just as much with Dads and with mums who are bottlefeeding, as I feel that if I'm excluding talking to a mum who is bottle feeding that isn't a nice way to behave so I chat to anyone and everyone. If I am talking about something other than bfing though I always preface it with a 'I'm saying this as a mum not a peer supporter' so that the person doesn't think I am passing on official advice on sore bits post baby or what charity shop sells baby clothes the cheapest smile

clarde21 Fri 10-Jun-11 16:35:14

I am doing my peer supporter training through Barnardos, about a third of the way through at the moment but really enjoying it.

It will be interesting to see how others get out there to meet up with new mums who need the support.

At the moment I go along to the weekly drop in session as still bf my 9mnth old and 9 weeks pg with no.2.

I think the hardest thing will be explaining how to latch on correctly as it is second nature for me, but hopefully the training will sort this out!

PenguinArmy Fri 10-Jun-11 17:01:30

I think this is something that would interest me, but have the problem that we plan to move abroad or at least around in about a year again.

One day maybe, anyway it's good to read your experiences

crikeybadger Fri 10-Jun-11 20:46:01

I haven't had to help anyone latch on yet clarde21, but I know what you mean about explaining it. It's fine seeing it in pictures and knowing how to describe it, but actually get it right in practice could be a challenge.

I guess this will be particularly important when I start to help out in the post natal ward.

PenguinArmy- you could train with someone like La leche league who are international I think and then find a support group wherever you move to next.

Has anyone been and supported new Mum's in a hospital? I'd be quite interested to find out how peer supporters are viewed by the midwives.

frodobaggins911 Fri 10-Jun-11 21:51:08

Hello smile I'm a LLL trained peer supporter and help out at the local bf group once a week (I used to do twice but DS is getting a bit big and boistrous for the small clinical room that the second group is run in.)

I find it really helpful to talk generally to mums about how its all going and they ask their own questions pretty quickly. This works for lots of women. If they are clearly anxious about the baby, have a specific problem such as pain or soreness, or the baby is not weighing/weeing/pooing as they should be I do tend to ask more pointed questions about the feeding itself/how much weight exactly/upping supply and its essential to observe a feed to see what drinking is actually going on or how the baby is behaving, then you need to know if this is a good feed/normal feed/bad one and you can ask things to find out what is happening etc. These cases are often supervised by the HV too - I have to let them know obviously for follow up provision and do sometimes refer on. Sometimes we can sort it out there and then with a few positional adjustments, particularly if there is pain, or the baby is simply not accessing the milk easily. Lots of different things really depending on what is in front of you.

I wish mums were offered more support days 3-7 by capable peer supporters (perhaps having taken an extra course in family protection or something appropriate for going into someone's house) as sometimes problems that start here take a lot of dedication on the mum's part to get sorted once they get to the support group.

I am starting the training as a LLL bfc later this year hopefully which is very exciting. The LLL is group is very different to the NHS thing and they have a library and donations and grants for the things you are talking about crikeybadger...

frodobaggins911 Fri 10-Jun-11 21:52:43

re latching on: a baby doll and a fake boob are invaluable for explaining the positioning. and lots of patience and sitting on your hands sometimes grin.

crikeybadger Sat 11-Jun-11 21:48:00

Thanks for the feedback frodo and hope you get to do the bfc training later on.

Must say too that I'm finding it frustrating hearing some of the things that women have been told by HCPs. Things like- "my baby's weight gain has tailed off a bit and the HV told me to increase my calorie intake."

...and this is from staff who are working towards their baby friendly status.

Which reminds me.... the latest Unicef babyfriendly 'newsletter' (online version) has a brillliant summary of the talks at last year's conference. You can also sign up for notification of the latest research and information. The website has been redesigned and is full of really good stuff. smile

PenguinArmy Sat 11-Jun-11 22:09:12

My HV was obsessed with my eating.

We do have a LLL but as with many parent things, they are in the working week. Which is a shame as being America there are loads of working mothers from a young age. Although we're moving to the UK it could only be for a year and then I'll be working again as we will make a loss until I do. I shall carry on doing my but to normalise it when Nigel (bump name only) comes along. last time I fed DD when climbing outdoors and had lots of other climbers coming up and asking questions, also everyone knew about our 'issues' with low weight gain, sleep and fussiness/strikes. Hopefully when they have children these concepts won't be so alien.

I think I might write to some of our local OBs and hospitals as the BF 'advice' I got amongst other things had (i) eat at least XX) (ii) drink at least and (iii) if worried about supply feed at least every 2-3 hours (implying that the norm is more) in that order. Also said to only certain holds. Have any of you dealt with advice from HCPs that you knew to be wrong and countered it? (I know I'm not a BF supporter but your time would be appreciated).

cleverything Sat 11-Jun-11 22:18:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CamperFan Sun 12-Jun-11 11:15:21

This is so interesting. I am hoping to become a peer supporter in the future. I mentioned it to the MW at my local group and I may be able to join a course in Sept, which I believe is the ABM one.

clarde21 Sun 12-Jun-11 11:56:13

we're getting knitted boobs and may get a cheap doll too as an aid. I think it will be a case of getting stuck in and learning from experience.

It seems that we have to go to antenatal sessions, introduce ourselves to the new mums and ask them if they are up for us contacting them once they have had the baby to see if they need any support. Not too sure how this is going to work in practice.

In our area there are drop in baby clinics for weighing so may go to these too except that it is on one of my work days!

I will have a look at the unicef info. it seems the current buzz is biological nurturing or laid back breastfeeding.

frodobaggins911 Sun 12-Jun-11 13:42:11

crikeybadger, just reread your OP.

i would suggest the new LLL book as a one stop shop for everything iykwim. its very comprehensive.

i also like the jack newman one - book of answers, and ina may has written a nice one too

penguinarmy its very difficult to counter rubbish advice. one lady was advised to give formula and express that feed - she ended up spending money and a had a freezer full of milk confused. i wasn't there when the mother was told but i would have simply said it - the hv is really nice and we do have a great relationship so hopefully she would have taken it on the chin - i think it is just old skool to think that formula is thicker and more calorific... luckily the other hv who is studying to be a IBCLC said something to the mother too (it was at around 4/5 months and didn't impact on supply which was lucky) but it was a bit late by then... tricky tricky

crikeybadger Sun 12-Jun-11 17:31:23

Thanks for the book suggestions frodo. Funnily enough the lll one and Jack Newman's are the ones I keep thinking about buying.

Just need to work out how best to justify the purchase of "another breastfeeding book". smile

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