We chatted to Margaret, one of our Breastfeeding Peer Support Volunteers to find out a little more about what she does.
How long have you volunteered for HOST?
Around six years.
How did you initially find out about HOST?
I saw an advert for volunteers in the Tameside Advertiser
Why did you decide for become a volunteer?
I breastfed my three daughters and two of my daughters also breastfed, one with twins! I wanted to use my experience and give something back as well as learn new skills to support my own daughters with their breastfeeding journey.
How did you find the training? Did it equip you well to carry out your role?
Really good. We have regular supervision where we can share experiences, voice concerns and process any difficult emotions. It also gives us the opportunity to meet and share with fellow volunteers and gain feedback.
I’ve also completed the Parent Infant Mental Health (PIMH) training course to give me more in depth knowledge of early attachment. I feel more knowledgeable so I can better support mothers with their mental health and signpost when appropriate.
What does your role involve?
I attend breastfeeding groups at Children Centres including Greenside Lane in Droylsden, St Peters Children Centre in Ashton and Flowery Fields in Hyde.
I support lots of Mums at these clinics with general breastfeeding support and advice with areas such as positioning, latching and milk supply. There is also a tongue tie clinic attended by a specialist midwife so I can also support Mums with this.
What do you gain from volunteering for HOST?
Feel good factor, helping Mums who are struggling. Some Mums give up breastfeeding once they return home from hospital as they feel alone and unsupported with it and often move to bottle feeding if they are struggling.
Are there any challenges/ anything that could improve your experience as a volunteer?
Hardest part of my role has been working with other cultures in which family aren’t supportive of breastfeeding and want to intervene with bottle feeding. This can be a challenge to ensure that Mothers have a voice and the support that they want and need.
What would you say to someone who is considering training to be a HOST volunteer?
Go for it, it’s absolutely worthwhile.