Women across the county are being called to become peer-to-peer breastfeeding volunteers to encourage more mothers to choose breast over bottle for their babies.

Virgin Care’s Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service has partnered up with in with children’s charity Barnardo’s to offer mum’s family drop-in sessions across Essex.

Volunteers will be responsible for providing one-to-one support at children centres and delivery sites for new mothers by building their confidence and boost breastfeeding rates.

Dionne Wilson, Public Health specialist and lead for Infant Feeding, said: “There is strong evidence that breastfeeding improves the long-term health and social outcomes for mothers and babies and Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service is committed to increasing the uptake and duration of breastfeeding across the county.

“Breastfeeding can be daunting for new mothers and it is great to have experienced mums lending a helping hand in sharing their knowledge and offering a kind ear at the same time.”

The Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service ensures that families have free and easy access to health services in their community.

They focus on making sure every baby in Essex has the best possible start in life with support from community services that are accessible and high quality.

The new scheme also falls in line with National Breastfeeding Week later this month.

Judith Fantousi, Family Voice manager, added: “Breastfeeding is hugely beneficial to mums and babies, and with the right support a mother’s breastfeeding journey can be truly rewarding and something to enjoy.

“We’re looking for mums to come forward to become breastfeeding volunteers so they can help support new mums in their local area.

“It is really helpful to have local people delivering the support in the community and all volunteers will receive training from our breastfeeding champions”.

Katie Ellis, is a breastfeeding volunteer at Billericay’s Sunnyside Healthy Family Delivery Site.

She said: “I think all the volunteers in our group would say that there is nothing more rewarding than a mum who attends one of our sessions feeling overwhelmed and leaves feeling more confident and comfortable, feeling she has been listened to.

“Volunteering is rewarding and it makes you feel great in the process of helping others feel great.

“It also brings new skills and new friendships whilst making a difference so please get in touch to find out more”.

For more information about becoming a breastfeeding volunteer or receiving support from the scheme at the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service, contact volunteer co-ordinator Clare Chinery, on 07500 120 884.