Keeping baby breastfeeding can help them fight infections, develop close emotional bonds with mum and even beat obesity.
That is just some of the advice that a new Pontefract Hospital Breastfeeding Support Clinic is dispensing to mums as they bid to keep infants on breast milk for months and even years after birth.
While over 80% of babies are breastfed exclusively at birth in the UK, this drops to around 17% after three months and just 1% after six. This is in stark contrast to Scandinavian countries and places such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, where beneficial breastfeeding continues for longer.
“While some mums struggle to get established, others give up within two weeks because they are finding it painful or they don’t get any support” revealed Sharon Tunnacliffe, Infant Feeding Coordinator for The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, “These clinics will open conversations with mums and carers and, in a relaxed environment, offer them advice – particularly on positioning baby for feeds.”
Supported by local charity Families And Babies (FAB), the clinic has already offered succour to mum-to-be Claire Delve (28 from Pontefract). Revealed Claire: “I really wanted to breastfeed my first child Violet because I knew about the nutritional benefits – but gave up after 11 days because it was so painful. In fact I felt so stressed about her not feeding that I developed a rash on my legs! But thanks to the clinic I feel more confident this time and know the importance of relaxation and positioning.”
Running on Friday mornings and backed by community midwives, the clinic uses amazing film footage to show how new-borns can find their mother’s breast instinctively – by crawling towards it! Emma Woolford, Community Midwife Support Worker for The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust added: “Dads can play a really important role in this too – by recognising the correct position for baby on the breast.”
Staged in the Midwifery Led Unit on Floor D of Pontefract Hospital every Friday (10 30am – 12 30pm) the clinic builds on a successful Mid Yorkshire Hospital’s breastfeeding café in Batley which engages with over 1000 people per year.
Learn more about Families And Babies at http://www.familiesandbabies.org.uk/
- Breastfeeding has increased in Britain by 5% since 2005
- However in some areas of the country – including more disadvantaged areas of Yorkshire, breastfeeding rates can be as low as 20%. In some communities, just one in eight mothers is still breastfeeding 12 weeks after birth
- Aside from protecting mum and baby from infections, research shows that breastfeeding can reduce obesity. This is because breast milk is regulated naturally and it is impossible to over-feed. Specially designed teats for bottles can now be bought so that baby doesn’t feed too fast
- According to a Daily Telegraph study, breastfeeding was most common among mothers who were aged 30 or over, from minority ethnic groups, left education aged over 18, in managerial and professional occupations and living in the least deprived areas
- Breast milk is always dispensed at the correct temperature, gives baby less chance of becoming constipated and of course… it’s free!
- Incorrect positioning is the most common cause of painful breastfeeding. To see how a new-born baby finds the correct place to feed see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33YEIXMpm-E