The Mum-to-Mum group in Birr, organized by Jennifer Phillips under the nationwide charity Friends of Breastfeeding, are celebrating one year of supporting local mammies.
This is national Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, and the group who meet on the fourth Wednesday of every month at the Outdoor Education Centre on the Roscrea Road, Birr, between 11am and 1pm, is open to all mammies who are considering breastfeeding.
There they have a chat over a cup of tea or coffee, and oftentimes a slice of cake!
There's is also a new group in Tullamore who meet on the third Wednesday of every month and new mums and prospective mothers can find more details of this available on Friends of Breastfeeding Facebook Page.
Friends of Breastfeeding work to help women in Ireland achieve their desired breastfeeding experience. They aim to build communities of supportive friends, family and health professionals. The focus of Friends of Breastfeeding is to promote a positive breastfeeding culture in Ireland and to make known the many different breastfeeding support options, so that Mammies can make an informed decisions and know where to look for breastfeeding support.
The charity works in a positive way to address the many social, psychological and cultural barriers to breastfeeding in order to help people in Ireland to overcome unfamiliarity with breastfeeding.
The organisation wholeheartedly endorse the recommendation backed by the WHO, the HSE and the Department of Health and Children that recommends exclusive breastfeeding until the baby shows signs of readiness and need for solids, about the middle of the first year after birth and encourages the continuation of breastfeeding until the child weans naturally, whenever that occurs.
Get paired with a Breastfeeding Buddy in your area of the Midlands
In particular there is a wonderful provision available through the “Buddy” system. The “Breastfeeding Buddy” is a volunteer Mammy in your area who has personal experience with breastfeeding and who wants to offer support to other breastfeeding mothers. She has breastfeeding information training, from an IBCLC Lactation Consultant, and is a peer supporter rather than a breastfeeding counsellor or lactation expert. A buddy is able to recognise when breastfeeding is proceeding normally and she can provide you with literature and information on breastfeeding, sources of help in your area should you need it and be there to support you. A buddy does not provide lactation advice, but is there for you as a friend who’s been trained in peer support.
The buddy can visit with the Mammy and provide moral and some practical support. She can discuss what to expect over the first few weeks of breastfeeding, assuming normal newborn behaviour. She is also available to accompany the mother to local breastfeeding support groups or even to keep her company the first time she nurses in public. Buddies also have a selection of breastfeeding books available to lend to interested mothers.
The buddy is available to meet with the mother as often as needed over the first three months. After this time, when the breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby is established and the buddy’s support is usually no longer required, the buddy can step back at that point, still ensuring that she has any social support that she might require in place.
There are three “Buddies” available in the Birr area. Anyone who is interested can sign up at www.friendsofbreastfeeding.ie Online support is there too via the Breastfeeding Mammies in Offaly Facebook Group. Contact can also be made with the group organiser Jennifer through Birr Friends of Breastfeeding Mum 2 Mum Group Facebook page or by phone on 0858773806.