The COVID-19 pandemic brought global change to our everyday lives. One group who were significantly affected were breastfeeding families.
Breastfeeding works best when women receive high quality practical and emotional support from professionals and peers including in the community.
Many of the usual breastfeeding supports ceased or moved online during the pandemic. The lockdowns brought to the fore the isolation of new mothers, and as a result the HSE and community volunteers came together to trial a brand new initiative in Sligo, Leitrim and surrounding areas entitled ‘Breastfeeding Buddies’.
A Breastfeeding Buddy is a mum who has breastfed, usually for at least six months, and has kindly volunteered to offer social and emotional support to other breastfeeding mums or to women who are currently pregnant and planning to breastfeed.
The Breastfeeding Buddy has some breastfeeding training but she is not a breastfeeding counsellor or lactation expert, but she is able to recognise when breastfeeding is proceeding normally. She provides emotional support, encouragement and motivation to new breastfeeding mums and she can also signpost new mums to sources of help in their area should they need it.
Contact is initiated by the breastfeeding mother and is via text, phone call or video call. It is best to initiate contact antenatally as the Breastfeeding Buddy and the new mum will already have formed a friendship before the baby arrives.
There are 14 volunteer Breastfeeding Buddies spread across counties Sligo, Leitrim and North Roscommon who are waiting to offer new mums support and encouragement.
To find your nearest buddy
Google: Breastfeeding Buddies in counties Sligo Leitrim and surrounding areas
Click on the link: https://www.saolta.ie/sites/ default/files/publications/ Breastfeeding%20Buddies%20in% 20counties%20Sligo%2C% 20Leitrim%20and%20surrounding% 20areas.pdfoffer
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