We all know how important breastfeeding is to both mother and child so as part of UNICEF National Breastfeeding Celebration Week (18-26 June) Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is launching its new breastfeeding service, which aims to support, educate and empower mothers during this important time. Throughout the week our Health Visitors will be hosting a number of events across Hampshire for families to celebrate breastfeeding and find out what health visiting teams have to offer.
This year’s theme is “everyone in local communities can support mothers to breastfeed, whenever and wherever they are”. The events are open to the public and provide families the opportunity to have fun, meet other mums and celebrate breastfeeding week, but also to find out more about breastfeeding, what the benefits are, meet the health visiting teams who can offer them help and advice and help mums to feel confident in breastfeeding when out and about.
We will also be on social media, using #celebratebreastfeeding and #hampshirehv.
Feedback from parents has shown that they are happy with the service they receive with many describing it as a lifeline that offers great breastfeeding support.
Liz Taylor, Associate Director of Nursing for Children, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Children’s and Families Division, “We are delighted to take part in UNICEFs National Breastfeeding Celebration week, we have a team of highly skilled health visitors to support mothers with breastfeeding. We see about 14,500 babies born in Hampshire each year and are happy to work with everyone in the community to support the health and well-being of children and families in Hampshire”.
Cllr Patricia Stallard, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Health and Public Health said: “Breastfeeding gives babies the very best start in life and we are fortunate in Hampshire to have a highly skilled health visiting service who can offer expert advice and support to mums both at home, as well as at the many child health clinics taking place across the county. These celebration events are a great opportunity to find out more about the breastfeeding support available.”
New breastfeeding service
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is accredited as Baby Friendly by Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative for excellence in the support of breastfeeding and parent – infant relationships. The Health Visiting Teams provide a professional support service for women and their families. It starts during pregnancy with advice on the feeding options and the importance of parents building a close and loving relationship with their unborn baby. Following the birth during the first essential weeks, parents will receive ongoing support, advice and if necessary, any specialist support.
All our health visitors are nurses or midwives with an extra year’s training as specialists in public health nursing; a minimum of 4 years training, including additional training in breastfeeding support. Health visitors then undertake a further three-day baby-friendly course when they start working for us, including a practical assessment of their skills. Staff are randomly selected for the staff audited twice a year in line with the BFI. They receive further breastfeeding training every year. They have access to our specialist infant feeding champions as well as our Infant Feeding lead so can refer any mums for extra support for who are really struggling to feed their baby.
More information, including details of all events, please access our Southern Health website breastfeeding pages: www.southernhealth.nhs.uk/breastfeeding