Pennine Acute Trust celebrates Breastfeeding Awareness Week – 22 to 26 June

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Pennine Acute Trust celebrates Breastfeeding Awareness Week – 22 to 26 June
16 June 2015

MIDWIVES at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust are celebrating the 17th national Breastfeeding Awareness Week with information stands and a special BrEaST bake-off.

The maternity units at North Manchester General Hospital and The Royal Oldham Hospital will host information stalls in the ante natal clinics during the week of 22 to 26 June.

Staff from the infant feeding team will host the stalls between 9.30am and 3pm at North Manchester General Hospital and at The Royal Oldham Hospital on 23rd and 25th June.

They will also celebrate the start of the awareness week on Monday 22 June, where they will give advice on breastfeeding and hand cakes out to new mums and mothers-to-be on the postnatal wards.

The cake element doesn’t stop there though!  Staff from the maternity units at Oldham and North Manchester will take part in a special BrEaST bake-off where they will test their baking prowess and cook up some delicious treats for a competition.

Jennifer Sager the Trust’s infant feeding co-ordinator and infant feeding midwife, said:

“National breastfeeding awareness week is all about highlighting the various means of support that can help a mother to start and then continue breastfeeding for longer.

“Staff will be available for help and advice and midwives will talk about the benefits of breastfeeding and encouraging skin to skin contact as soon as the baby is born.  As babies get stressed at birth because they have left the warmth of their mother’s womb, placing them back with their mother on her chest reduces their stress levels and elicits strong instinctive reflexes and behaviours which are designed to lead to breastfeeding. Babies will start to ‘root’ and lick around the skin, enabling colonisation of the baby’s skin with the ‘friendly’ bacteria from the mother’s skin and this contact triggers the release of endorphins, which have an analgesic effect and contribute to a ‘high’ for both mother and baby.

“The benefits of breast milk and skin to skin at delivery are unique. We want all mothers to know this and feel able to ask any questions they may have.”

The Trust which runs The Royal Oldham Hospital, North Manchester General Hospital, Rochdale Infirmary and Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, has had UNICEF accredited status for 16 years at Oldham and nine years at North Manchester General Hospital.  This means that the hospitals have been externally assessed and demonstrated exceptional care for mothers and babies with regards to feeding, whether that be by breast or bottle.

The infant feeding team train staff, support mothers and provide services across the maternity, paediatric, neonatal and general ward areas where breastfeeding women may be being treated. 

Within this team there are three breastfeeding support workers who provide basic information and support to mothers on both breast and bottle feeding during their maternity stay.  All Pennine Acute Trust staff who have direct contact with mothers and babies are also trained in breastfeeding.

Jennifer continued: “We want mothers to make an informed choice about the milk they give to their babies and have the support to breastfeed should they wish to do so.”

Breast fed babies are:

  • Five times less likely to present with gastrointestinal infections (tummy bugs) or urinary tract infections
  • Two times less likely to have a chest infection
  • Two times less likely to have an allergy if they are from an allergic family.  This includes eczema, asthma or diabetes.
  • If the babies are premature they are 20 fold less likely to get neonatal necrotising enterocolitis, a bowel condition,  which can be life threatening
  • Have improved cognitive development
  • And are less likely to be obese in childhood or later adult life

Mothers who breastfeed:

  • Have reduced risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis later in life
  • Regain their pre-pregnancy weight more quickly and their womb contracts to its pre-pregnant state more quickly, reducing their likelihood of postpartum bleeding or womb infections.

Pictured: Jen Sager, Infant Feeding Midwife (Acting Infant Feeding Co-ordinator) at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust