Even in COVID, breast feeding buddies are available
Kirsten Killoran – Friends of Breast Feeding
Kirsten is a trainee lactation consultant and volunteer buddy with the Friends of Breast Feeding charity in Ireland. And for those of you who are not a parent, most notably a woman, the idea of a breast feeding charity may seem a little strange until you realise that while breast feeding is the most natural thing in the world, it is not always easy and a little bit of education and support can go a long way.
The other really powerful reason for talking about this charity is that Ireland has recorded one of the lowest breast feeding rates of Europe which is not good: not for mother, not for baby and not for the pocket. Becoming a lactation consultant means that Kirsten will be able to help new mothers in hospitals and clinics achieve a successful feeding ability. Having medical as well as general advocacy will enable her to give extra support especially if something is not medically right.
Kirsten has two children and breast fed both of them. A Canadian living in Wicklow prior to her first baby she had been commuting to Dublin for work and did not know many people locally, so she joined the local Friends of Breast Feeding primarily to make friends.
“I made some really good friends out of the group and now our children are joining the local primary school together.”
Asked about what advice Kirsten would give new mothers, she is very firm in her reply.
“I would suggest pregnant women join the local charity – once baby arrives there is little time to think about anything. If a woman is interested in Breast Feeding then ante-natal classes are much more helpful and can provide a bond with other pregnant women in the same boat.”
Kirsten goes onto say that while hospitals and staff are very helpful, often it is the buddy friendship of other mothers that makes a real difference if problems arrive. “If groups are not your thing then an individual buddy can be very powerful. When you start feeding it is hard to know the baby is getting enough milk, are they latching on properly – how is the mother doing. A buddy, or group, can give a new mother a lot of reassurance. Chances are they will have experienced the same problems or had the same doubts and this can be tackled very quickly.
“Peer support is very powerful – it also empowers the new mother to ask any and all questions that a more formal, white coat setting might prove daunting.”
The groups and buddies are not just for feeding, like any other support group general well-being, child behaviour, health and development stages are all discussed and shared.
People wanting to know more should contact Friends of Breasting on their Facebook pages. During the COVID pandemic most of the groups are meeting online until restrictions are eased.