This year’s theme is “everyone in local communities can support mothers to breastfeed, whenever and wherever they are” so where better than the local park to get together to talk about their successes and challenges with breastfeeding, and their overwhelming acknowledge of the support that health visiting teams, children’s centres and midwifery services offer them.
It was also a great opportunity to hear from those mums how much they enjoy breastfeeding; how with that vital support in the early days, and awareness of what was “normal” with feeding, they could persevere and establish breastfeeding.
There were games for the older siblings to play and a free raffle with prizes kindly donated by local businesses, including The Fruit Basket, Aqua Academy, Absolut Running, Gosport Leisure Centre and Tesco.
One mum commented how pleased she was that there was so much support with breastfeeding clinics locally, where she knew she could ask every question she needed, and ask for help; “it’s that support when I just had my daughter that kept me going with breastfeeding when I was thinking of giving up. My eldest child is now 21 years old – I tried to breast feed then but there wasn’t the support then that there is now; but with my 4.5 month – the support is there to give you the skills and confidence to keep you breastfeeding for longer”.
New mums Linsey Bernard, Sophie Widdowson and Danielle Yumang were at the picnic with their babies and commented on “it’s easy when you are out and about to breastfeed rather than having to carry a bottle around all the time”.
The support we receive at the child health clinics from the breastfeeding champions; knowing they are there to give advice on how to feed and knowing the benefits of breastfeeding helps us continue to do so for as long as we can. It’s great to see some mums continuing to breastfeed their toddlers.
Barbara Hollis, Health Visiting Team Lead for Gosport, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust “we are really pleased to see so many families here today and in particular see mums feeling relaxed with breastfeeding out and about. Our health visiting team really enjoy getting to know local mums and babies and being able to help them with their concerns not just about feeding but about all aspects of their babies health and wellbeing”
Hayley Nelson, Infant Feeding specialist from Portsmouth Hospital Trust, was there and said “It’s great to see so many mums celebrating breastfeeding today; we want it to be seen as normal so our midwifery service work closely with health visiting teams, breastfeeding volunteer services and children’s centres to support mums with their breastfeeding journey”
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.