Chief Exec To Visit Breastfeeding Support Group

Dudley Council’s chief executive will be dropping by a successful breast feeding support group next week to find out more and promote the service.

Sarah Norman will be calling into Little Suckers at Stourbridge Children’s Centre on Wednesday 26October between 12-2pm, to talk with mothers and volunteer buddies about the support they receive and share to extend breastfeeding.

Little Suckers is the largest breastfeeding support group in the borough. It has been running for several years, supported by volunteer and paid sessional worker buddies. It is now being run by a newly appointed volunteer buddy coordinator and volunteer buddies. The buddies offer breastfeeding support and information in the early days, as this is when most mums say they give up breastfeeding, when they really wanted to carry on.

New mums with babies as young as two days old are directed to the group by hospital based maternity infant feeding assistants and buddy service helpline staff. The helpline staff call mums in their first week at home to offer support in getting feeding off to a good start and information as to where they can get support in the community.  Both services are commissioned by Dudley Public Health.

The group also has a number of mums who are breastfeeding older infants, who find that the group offers the social support needed to carry on breastfeeding.

The number of mums attending Little Suckers each year has been around 400 and the group has ten active volunteer buddies, who regularly give up their time to co-run the group, despite having young children of their own. Mums using the service report that being able to see a buddy when they need support has made the difference between carrying on breastfeeding or stopping. Just seeing a mum feeding an older child has made many of them feel like they too can carry on. Sarah Norman, Dudley Council’s chief executive said:

“Breastfeeding gives babies a great start in life and offers health benefits to both mother and child. I know from personal experience how tough it can be in the early days and the right support to carry on can make all the difference.

 “The breastfeeding buddies do a fantastic job of supporting fellow mums, especially at the beginning of parenthood. The support they provide is invaluable.  I’m really looking forward to meeting the buddy mentors and the mums who use the service when I visit next week.”

Public Health has trained more than 250 local mums over the past 7 years to support fellow mums and babies with breastfeeding, as part of the Healthy Community Volunteers programme. There are a number of buddy run groups around the borough, with Little Suckers being the biggest one. Dudley Public Health has run a number of successful campaigns in Dudley, including a campaign to normalise breastfeeding which gives mums the confidence to breastfeed, especially in public places.

To find the nearest group call the Buddy Service Helpline on 01384 814545.


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