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Banff support group to boost breastfeeding

Left is breastfeeding mother Phoebe Johnson with her baby girl India, middle is community nurse Lindsay Michie and left is health visitor Louise Whyte
Left is breastfeeding mother Phoebe Johnson with her baby girl India, middle is community nurse Lindsay Michie and left is health visitor Louise Whyte

A group of health visitors are launching a weekly support group in Banff to boost breastfeeding.

The NHS Banffshire health visitors are starting the group, Breast Friends, to encourage, support and advise mothers on the practice.

In Scotland, 64% of babies born in 2017-2018 were breastfed for at least some period following their birth, according to the Information Services Division, but only 42% of babies at the six-to-eight week check were being breastfed.

For Banff and the surrounding areas, the average is significantly lower than that and the drop by the six-to-eight week check is more significant.

This spurred the local health visitors to create a group in the hope it will encourage the practice.

Community nursery nurse Lindsay Michie is part of the health visiting team organising the support group for expecting, breastfeeding and experienced mothers.

She said: “We find that the six-to-eight week check is the drop off point where people stop so we just wanted to get support for parents and make sure we’re easily available to them so they can be confident to breastfeed for as long or as short as they choose.

“A health visitor sees about five patients in a day but with a support group we can speak to many more in one hour as it’s also a time where people can drop in to chat.

“As well as that, as community nurses we have the information but we sometimes don’t have the first hand experiences.

“Getting parents together can help them form those friendships.

“As a parent you often have questions at 2am but no one to ask or you feel your concern isn’t enough to contact a health visitor.

“Breast Friends is a way for people to meet and then they can have a 2am club and use their friendships to support each other.”

The Scottish Government aims to lessen the six-to-eight week drop by 10% before 2025.

Miss Michie said: “Some areas are better than others – Huntly has a great breastfeeding support group which is run by support peers.

“Those are people who have done a peer support course to help others with breastfeeding and offer correct advice.

“It’s been a big success in Huntly and we’re hoping that can happen here too.”

The breastfeeding group will take place on Wednesdays in Banff Library from 10am to 11.30am.

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