However local mums choose to feed their baby is their decision but it is so important that mums are able to access good quality breastfeeding support.

Whether they are already breastfeeding, antenatal mothers hoping to breastfeed in the future, or even if they have previously tried, stopped and are thinking of trying again.

For local parents Bosom Buddies, the local breastfeeding support group, is here to help and recently hosted its Teddy Bear’s Picnic.

Organised by the NHS Western Isles Health Visiting team, and held as part of National Breastfeeding Celebration Week to promote the benefits of breastfeeding with local families, the event greeted over 25 parents, including visiting grandparents from Columbia in South America, with their babies and young children, in the recently renovated Retirement Centre.

Anna Mackay, Health Visitor, said: “Despite our change of venue due to cooler weather, it was fantastic to see everyone having fun at our relaunch following the renovation at the retirement centre and we were truly delighted with the turnout. A number of new mums and babies came along, many of which had never attended Bosom Buddies before and all were welcomed into the group.

“Bosom Buddies is a great way for local mums to meet, which is particularly useful for parents of similarly aged children to their own. In fact, one mum who has three children and has attended Bosom Buddies over the last six years told us that some of the friends she made at the group are now her closest friends!

“The group also encourages nursing mums to come together and offer support to each other. Our nursing mums can also offer a fantastic source of breastfeeding tips and are great for ongoing support, particularly when there is nothing “wrong” but a bit of moral comfort is needed, a friendly person to chat to and reassurance that you are doing it “right”. Staff from our friendly Health Visiting team are usually in attendance at the group, should parents ever wish to seek advice without a formal home visit. In addition to the breastfeeding support and advice we give, we also have local breastfeeding peer supporters who attend bosom buddies.”

Anne-Marie Maciver, Midwife, added: “The peer supporters are mums who have previously attended and valued the support of bosom buddies. They were interviewed and trained through the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) with funding obtained through the maternal and infant nutrition (MIN) group. There are currently three peer supporters who can provide support to parents over the phone as well as bosom buddies or on the maternity ward.”

During the event, mums and mums-to-be were given the opportunity to help plan the group’s future activities such as practical advice on weaning and healthy snack demonstrations, information on the Healthy Start Scheme, first aid, music and movement, baby massage, keeping active, and talks from local services and groups to help families.

Staff from the Public Library’s Bookbug team also attended to host a session featuring songs, stories and rhymes, with everyone taking part.

Anna added: “Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the Bookbug session and there may be the possibility of these sessions being made available during future Bosom Buddies events. The group has recently undertaken fundraising through a Bake Sale with other events planned during the year. Monies raised will help to fund larger events and buy new toys for the group’s use.”

Bosom Buddies meets every Wednesday from 10am-12pm in The Retirement Centre located on Bayhead, Stornoway. Women who are pregnant and those already breastfeeding are welcome to attend and take part in activities, obtain advice and support, and make new friends whilst their babies play in friendly and safe surroundings. Free swimming sessions are also held for Bosom Buddies members on the first Wednesday of the month at the Grianan Centre, Westview Terrace, Stornoway.

For further information please contact the HV team on (01851) 709842.