Plymouth parents are receiving expert support to help feed their new babies without leaving the house, thanks to a new online support group created and hosted by Livewell Southwest staff and volunteer peer supporters.
The online breastfeeding support sessions run by Plymouth Latch On , take place on Mondays and Wednesdays via video consultations.
Mums and their families are able to receive practical support and encouragement from peer supporters as well as connecting with families dealing with similar challenges, all while staying safely indoors.
Plymouth Latch On traditionally runs face to face groups to support new parents with breastfeeding and give support and encouragement.
Mandy Chapman, an award winning health improvement practitioner at Livewell Southwest, has been instrumental in getting the sessions off the ground, and leads the Wednesday session from her living room, while the Monday session is run by peer supporters Sue and Louise.
Mandy said: “Bringing a new baby into the world is a wonderful experience, but it can be very daunting in the first few days when mums are trying to establish breastfeeding or any type of feeding schedule. This is particularly true for new mums who may be feeling vulnerable and isolated from their support networks due to the lockdown.
“Please know we are here to support you and will do everything we can to help you keep baby fed and happy. There’s currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transferred through breast milk and breastfeeding will help to boost a baby’s immune system, but we can advise on all methods of infant feeding so please do get in touch if you need us.”
Today, (Tuesday 5 May) is International day of the Midwife and Mandy, on behalf of Livewell, is keen to celebrate the professionalism and dedication shown by her colleagues in maternity wards across Devon; particularly over the last few weeks faced with the challenge of quickly adapting services to keep everyone safe.
Mandy added: “Every single person working on maternity wards, whether they’re a porter, midwife, cleaner or obstetrician is 100% focused on making sure that bringing your baby into the world is every bit as safe and special as it would be if we weren’t facing the difficulties posed by COVID-19.
“In fact, I know from talking to families that many people are finding it to be a very positive experience, they’re staying at home and simply being with baby, focusing on enjoying getting to know each other.
“It’s also great for families where one partner would normally go back to work after a short spell of leave; lockdown is giving families with new babies an opportunity to embrace extra time together.”
To join a Latch On session you can simply contact Mandy and her colleagues via their Facebook page @plymouthlatchon or visit the Plymouth Latch On website. While open to new parents across Plymouth, appropriate precautions are taken to ensure the video sessions remain secure and private. Mums can message the page at any time for support and the Plymouth Breastfeeding mums Facebook group is another great source of information and support.
You can also find details of other groups across the region, here.