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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > New help for breastfeeding mums

New help for breastfeeding mums

Posted on Thursday 5th February 2015
Breastfeeding peer supporters

New mums in the Penrith area now have a new team of helpers to go to for advice on breastfeeding, with the launch of the breastfeeding peer supporter scheme in the town.

Breastfeeding peer supporters have been helping new parents in Carlisle, Wigton and West Cumbria for several years now, but this is the first time the scheme has been offered in the Eden Valley.

Ten new volunteers have been trained to provide valuable support to pregnant women interested in breastfeeding, breastfeeding mums, and their partners. They will form a new team in Penrith, and also supplement the already very successful Wigton group.

Kate Cumming, community midwife for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, explained: “We see new mums during the first few days and weeks, but these peer supporters can ensure the continued support they may need will be there in the weeks and months ahead, for the whole family. We are so grateful to these women for putting themselves forward to be trained as volunteers.”

The volunteers have all undergone three intensive training sessions with Helen Ferris, infant feeding co-ordinator for the Trust, Kate, and outside speakers, on subjects including basic breastfeeding management and support, and safeguarding. Health visitor Fiona Sim will also support the group.

Helen Ferris, infant feeding co-ordinator for the Trust, said: “Breastfeeding peer supporters can support parents who are thinking about or have decided to breastfeed and help mums who are having problems or concerns.

“The breastfeeding support service is informal and works in partnership with local health professionals, including midwives and health visitors. We must give a big thank you to all those who have supported the peer supporters in their training.”

The peer supporters will help to run a weekly drop-in session from 1-3pm on Tuesdays at Penrith Leisure Centre, starting on 17 February, where parents can stop by for informal breastfeeding advice over a coffee.

The new peer supporters are the first volunteers to be recruited and trained following a review of the Trust’s volunteering procedures. Claire Unwin is the Trust’s volunteer and charity development officer, who took up post in November 2014. She said: “It’s been a pleasure to spend time with the group during their recruitment and training. I’m sure that this newly established breastfeeding group in Penrith will be very successful, and that the volunteers will enjoy their role as peer supporters.”

For more information on breastfeeding support, including sessions run by the peer supporters, visit