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Breastfeeding group’s best start as it unites generations

Published: Friday, 14 June 2024

Breastfeeding group’s best start as it unites generations

A new breastfeeding group is off to the best start in life - by joyfully uniting young and old.

Residents at David Walker Gardens Care Home in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, welcomed the first meeting of the group which offers both reassurance and evidence-based support to mums - with older residents revelling in the presence of new-borns.
The power of connecting generations has been exemplified by South Lanarkshire University Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) during National Breastfeeding Week.
Professor Soumen Sengupta, Chief Officer of the HCSP described a heart-warming afternoon – which was captured in this short reel. The group is jointly hosted by the Partnership’s residential care home and health visiting staff.
“Encouraging and supporting breastfeeding continues to be an important public health priority,” said Professor Soumen Sengupta. “We know that further improving breastfeeding rates in Scotland will help to improve the health of babies and mothers as well as tackle inequalities in health.
“There’s been hugely positive progress in recent years in supporting more mums and families in making informed choices thanks to the dedicated work of staff, organisations and communities alike. This meeting of generations is a further strengthening of supports to give babies the healthiest start in their lives.”
Professor Sengupta added: “There is also a growing interest in developing intergenerational opportunities within health and social care and gathering evidence of the benefits of doing so - and certainly today’s meeting brought a smile to the faces of all involved.
“These are challenging times for health and social care - greater collaboration and innovation at a variety of levels is going to be critical to our continuing to develop services and supports that are fit-for-the-future. This is a beautiful example of that action.”
The breastfeeding group is run by local HSCP health visiting staff and offers mums valuable reassurance and support. Bernadette Barron, who is expecting her second child, attended with her daughter Sophia (2) and husband Denis.
“There’s really relaxed atmosphere here and it’s lovely to come and blether to other mums,” said Bernadette.
“I’ve also been speaking to some of the residents, many of whom have raised children themselves, and although none of them have been telling us ‘what we should or shouldn’t do’, there’s a reassuring sense of a wealth of experience, worldly wisdom and advice in the room.
Bernadette added: “The staff who have supported me in my breastfeeding journey have been exceptional in their encouragement and there’s a similar sense from the residents.
“As a mum of almost two years, there’s many other new mums here today, so I’m able to chat to them about my experiences, how I overcame tricky parts of my journey and share with them all the benefits.”
Great grandmother Rose Gallagher, a resident of David Walker Gardens, said: “I used to be a nursery teacher and work with babies and children.
“It’s been the highlight of the week all these babies, mums and dads coming to see us. I was able to sing a lullaby to a beautiful wee baby girl today, just as I used to all those years ago.
“It’s amazing how it all comes back so naturally.”

Anyone in Lanarkshire looking for breastfeeding support can contact the infant feeding team on 01698 366710. Further information is available at https://www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/services/infantfeeding/ or on the Facebook group NHS Lanarkshire Mums & Babies.