Elise’s Story

1 June 2020

Elise is a mum of two and is the voluntary Coordinator of our Irvine Breastfeeding Network (BfN) support group. Alongside volunteering, she also organises the volunteer rota and activities for the group.

Elsie -300x 251Elise originally trained and volunteered as a BfN Helper having received breastfeeding support from our volunteers when she had her son in 2009. She had some time away and re-registered in 2018 having attended the Irvine group with her youngest, Arwen. She volunteers at the Irvine group almost every week of the year! We are so grateful that she gives her time on her day off from her demanding job as a theatre nurse at Ayrshire Maternity Unit (AMU).

Elise has been a great support to many new mums, often calling on her BfN training to offer initial breastfeeding support as she cares for them in the recovery room at AMU. Mum and now fellow BfN volunteer Debbie Nelson shares her memory of meeting Elise at AMU:

‘Elise made a huge impact on my breastfeeding journey and I am so grateful that I was lucky enough to come across her when I did. Hers was the first face I saw when I came out of theatre from delivering my third baby, Jack. Elise was working in the recovery room and when I told her how keen I was to breastfeed she was so supportive and really listened. She had a ‘hands-off’ approach and waited in the background reassuring me I was doing well. I really appreciated her advice to have skin-to-skin and let my son find his own way to the breast which worked. It was relaxed and really different from my previous feeding experiences. It was so lovely to bump into Elise at the Irvine BfN group and see her friendly face.’

Elise has a welcoming spirit and genuine warmth which relaxes mums and volunteers alike, and her depth of knowledge on breastfeeding is very much appreciated by everyone. She has been a great support to many newly registered BfN Helpers as they begin their volunteer journey (myself included). Recently qualified Helper Claire Montgomery says:

‘Elise was so welcoming to myself and the other new Helpers when we started to volunteer at the start of 2020. She set up a buddy group which really settled our ‘newbie’ nerves. Elise is such an inspiring person who has shown me that volunteering at a BfN group can be so rewarding. I always feel at ease when volunteering under her wing. I have always felt I can ask her any questions however silly or complicated, and know she will know the answer or direct me to where I can find it’.

Elise has recently completed the National Breastfeeding Helpline Supporter training and is one of the volunteers who have very quickly risen to the challenge of answering calls to the Helpline which have increased as as parents seek additional information and emotional support during this challenging time.

Elise really is an integral part of the BfN Ayrshire team and regularly gives her spare time to volunteer at BfN events. She she is pictured here with her daughter Arwen promoting the Scottish Government ‘Breastfeeding Friendly Scotland’ scheme at a local event . She has a great sense of fun and can often be seen at the BfN Christmas parties in her role as ‘Chief Elf’ helping Santa to give the presents out to the little ones!

Thank you Elise

If you’ve been supported by Elise, pop a wee comment in below. We’d love to hear from you.

Written by: Jo McNish – Ayrshire Project Manager
with thanks to Debbie Nelson and Claire Montgomery

Breastfeeding Network Ayrshire and Arran