Wakefield breastfeeding clinics help mums to carry on feeding | Latest news

Wakefield breastfeeding clinics help mums to carry on feeding

Breastfeeding mums across Wakefield are being given the help and support they need to feed their babies with confidence and for longer thanks to three new clinics.

Breastfeeding clinic in Castleford sessions which take place in Hemsworth, Castleford and Sandal are run by infant feeding champion health visitors from The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, with the assistance of local breastfeeding peer supporters from the UK charity FAB.

All three clinics were set up by Infant Feeding Health Visitor, Ciara Metcalfe, who felt that specialist support for breastfeeding women was lacking in local communities. “We felt it was important that breastfeeding support was accessible to parents in Wakefield,” said Ciara.

“The aim of the clinic is to allow women to quickly receive the support they need with any breastfeeding problems. By having three clinics within the local community this allows the women to meet in a welcoming environment to share their experiences and contributes to building breastfeeding skills and culture in the Wakefield area.”

As well as giving advice about positioning, frequency of feeding and any other concerns mums have, the clinics also give an opportunity for them to share their experiences with each other.

Claire Smith, 36 from Glasshoughton, is a second time mum who has found the Castleford clinic invaluable to give her the confidence she needed to feed her now seven week old daughter Rebecca. “I was a bit worried about breastfeeding this time round,” she said.

”When I had my son I did feed him my milk for the first year, but most of that was done with me expressing and feeding him with a bottle. This time I really wanted to be able to do it all myself.”

A friend told Claire about the clinic which in turn made her aware of the support that the charity FAB gives to breastfeeding mums. “I called FAB and someone came out to see me the same day. It was the confidence boost I needed to reassure me that I was doing everything right, although it was useful to get some tips on how to hold Rebecca.

Thanks to the support from everyone at the clinic I’m more relaxed and content this time round which means I have a more contented baby.

“Breastfeeding is definitely a skill but once you master it the benefits are tremendous. I would advise anyone who is struggling to seek out the support they need to continue for as long as they can.”

Ciara has been really pleased with the positive outcomes of the clinic. “Some of our mums wouldn’t breastfeed in public, and now they have the confidence to do so which is great,” she said.

“Whilst breastfeeding is the norm we are aware of practical, social and emotional barriers that prevent women from continuing to breastfeed and by developing an informed and supportive environment we can enable those women who choose to breastfeed to continue for as long as they wish.”

With specialist support from skilled workers like Ciara and her team, and other volunteer groups, the Trust’s breastfeeding initiation rate has increased 15% in the last five years, and initiatives such as the breastfeeding clinic and support groups will ensure these mothers are supported effectively in the longer term.

Chair of FAB, Elaine Edwards says, ‘We are extremely proud to be in our 8th year of delivering a breastfeeding support service to mothers across the Wakefield district. By working in partnership with the Midwifery and Health Visiting teams we provide the best possible support to local families.”

Based at The Five Towns Centre, in Castleford the clinic takes place every Tuesday from 10:00am – 12:00pm. The Trust also runs a breastfeeding support clinic at the Cedar Children’s Centre in Hemsworth every Thursday (11:00am – 1:00pm) and Castle Children’s Centre, in Sandal every Friday (9:30am – 11:30pm).