Peer support

Peer support has been shown to help in increasing rates of breastfeeding. Peer support can also help in the transition to parenthood, offering friendship and alleviating isolation, stress and low mood.

The June 2016 issue of Perspective features a number of articles on peer support:

Editor Julie Clayton talks to Shona Gore, head of NCT's New Developments team about her role shaping training at NCT, and the importance of community-based peer support for parents. Camilla Rosan, Jenny Reynolds and Celia Suppiah give an overview of peer support approaches in parents experiencing anxiety and depression in the perinatal period. Vanita Bhavnani, NCT's Senior Research and Evaluation Officer, reports on the positive effects of NCT Birth and Beyond Community Support training for parents and volunteers alike. NCT's Commissioned Services team explain the range of evidence-based peer support programmes on offer for parents, including breastfeeding peer support, antenatal classes and Baby Cafes. Donna Moore discusses how visiting online forums may help women deal with the stigma of perinatal mental illness and disclose to health professionals. Heather Trickey, NCT Senior Researcher and Research Associate at DECIPHer, Cardiff University, considers challenges to interpreting the evidence base for peer support. Ann Parker outlines the benefits of group reflective support for all practitioners. 

Becoming a parent isn't easy but the support of friends made in antenatal courses and through branch activities can prove invaluable in making the transition. Kim Thomas looks at ways of encouraging peer support in NCT networks - enabling parents to support each other.

Cathy Wardle, an NCT postnatal leader, received outstanding feedback from responding to an online audit. In Leading postnatal groups: sharing good practice she shares some of the lessons she's learnt from running Early Days courses, including how the group members can support one another as their babies become toddlers.

Viv Schwartzberg, local project manager of NCT Birth and Beyond Community Supporters project, looks at how NCT supported new parents in military families.

Birth and Beyond community supporters - peer support for refugees and asylum seekers looks at the achievements of the programme to train refugees and asylum seekers as peer supporters.

Supporting parents of premature babies and babies who have spent time in special care: an outreach project describes a multi-agency project set up by Catherine Neil to offer much-needed support to parents of premature babies.

NCT breastfeeding peer support in East Lancashire describes how a new service has been made to work and how it has helped women feel more confident in breastfeeding.

From 2009 to 2011, NCT provided training for breastfeeding peer supporters in Sheffield. Mary Newburn and Angela Sherridan report in Learning from breastfeeding peer support programmes in Sheffield.

In 2006 NCT was awarded three-years funding by the Department of Health (England) for a project to train 240 peer supporters. The aim was to set up breastfeeding peer support training programmes that were responsive to local needs. The results were published in NCT breastfeeding peer support project.