Peterhead Breastfeeding Group celebrates 21st anniversary

Mums and babies at the Peterhead Breastfeeding Group
Mums and babies at the Peterhead Breastfeeding Group

Peterhead Breastfeeding Group is leading the way in Grampian, clocking up more than two decades supporting families in the area.

Launched in July 1996 by midwife Hazel Allen, the group started meetings at Peterhead Maternity Hospital, relocating to the Community Centre last year.

Helen Wilson has run the group for the past few years and has recently been joined by a newly trained Peer Supporter Worker.

To mark Scottish Breastfeeding Week (19-25 June) NHS Grampian has announced that more than 60 Peer Support Workers have been recruited to work across Grampian area.

Each volunteer has experience of breastfeeding and has been trained to offer friendly personal advice and practical help for both new and expectant mums.

In order to make the service as accessible as possible, mums can chat with a Peer Supporter over the phone, in a venue of their choice, or at their local breastfeeding group.

Lorna Watt, Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership Location Manager for Peterhead, said the group is an essential resource for breastfeeding mums, or those who are considering it.

She said: “We want to encourage more mothers to breastfeed and support groups like the one in Peterhead are an excellent way of helping new mothers.

“Breastfeeding has important health benefits for both mother and baby and plays a major role in reducing health inequalities. Breastfeeding helps to protect babies and mothers against various illnesses.”

The Peterhead Breastfeeding Group meets every Thursday between 1.30 and 3pm at Peterhead Community Centre.

The group has two new peer supporters, Hannah McDonald and Hazel Elder-Smith.

Speaking to the Buchanie about her new role, Hannah, a mum-of-two, said: “It’s nerve-wracking giving mums information because I never want to tell them the wrong thing.

“I was just 17 when I had my first child and at the time I thought coming to meetings like this would be daunting but they aren’t, they are relaxing and help you make new friends.

“By coming to these meetings I found that other mums were going through the same things as me and they help you realise that you aren’t alone.”

Hazel added: “I started coming to the group when I was 30 weeks pregnant and I found it so helpful, it’s good to actually be able to speak to people instead of searching the internet for answers.

“I encourage other mums to come along to the group as there is always someone here to help and talk to, we welcome any questions that you may have.”

Due to the importance of breastfeeding to children’s health and wellbeing, NHS Grampian has set a target of 46% of babies being exclusively breast fed at 6-8 weeks of life by 2021.

Currently 35% of 6-8 week old babies in Aberdeenshire are breastfed which is higher than the Scottish average of 28%.

A comprehensive guide highlighting all NHS Grampian breastfeeding support available has been created and is available online at www.nhsgrampian.org/breastfeeding or via your midwife.