We are the champions as Pennine Acute Trust staff say ‘Every drop is golden’ during breast feeding awareness week
Every drop of breast milk is golden! This is the message Pennine Acute Trust infant feeding advisors will be delivering during breast feeding awareness week from 19 to 25 May.
Maternity staff will be out in force in the Trust’s four hospitals and the local community during the awareness week as they celebrate breastfeeding and promoting why it is important for the health and well being of mothers and babies.
Staff will be available for help and advice and midwives will set up projects within the community to raise awareness in their community groups.
Dr Val Finigan MBE the Trust’s consultant midwife in infant feeding, 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. At Pennine Acute Trust we are going one step further and celebrating both mothers’ and staff achievements in breastfeeding with our slogan ‘Celebrating success in supporting women to initiate and continue to breastfeed – our journey.’”
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 15 years at Oldham and eight 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.
Along with a consultant in infant feeding, there are also two infant feeding advisors/co-ordinators to train staff, support mothers and provide services across the maternity, paediatric, neonatal and general ward areas where breastfeeding women may be being treated. There are three peer breastfeeding supporters who provide basic information and support to mothers on both breast and bottle feeding during their maternity stay and three volunteers. All Pennine Acute Trust staff who have direct contact with mothers and babies are also trained in breastfeeding.
Val continued: “During the awareness week we will be launching our champions’ scheme which will see staff who champion breastfeeding in paediatric, neonatal, maternity services and the wider Trust, awarded a champions’ badge.
“We will also highlight how the breastfeeding service has changed from the 1990s to the current day and how we hope to improve it further. Mums will be given a small present and a card to commemorate the week which depicts a golden drop and states that every drop of breast milk is golden.
“Neonatal staff will also get in on the awareness week and promote a small wonders project which highlights how breastfeeding for pre term infants can improve their health outcomes and help to strengthen and build relationships between mothers and babies because of the close and intimate contact during the feeding episodes.”
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.
Helen and baby Henry McKeown from Oldham met several challenges during their breastfeeding journey. Helen was determined to succeed. She sought the help of Val and the team and it was found that even after support to position Henry better, breastfeeding continued to be uncomfortable.
Henry had a notable tongue-tie. This is a rare condition where the baby’s tongue is attached to the bottom of the mouth by a thin piece of skin, which restricts the forward movement of the tongue and can lead to problems with breastfeeding. The problem can be corrected with a quick procedure called frenulotomy, which involves snipping the thin piece of skin and freeing the tongue. Henry’s tongue tie was divided at The Royal Oldham Hospital, and further support and encouragement was given with breastfeeding.
Both mum and baby are now enjoying breastfeeding which shows that with the right help mums and babies can be successful.
Helen said: “They are a brilliant team. We have been exclusively breastfeeding since the tongue-tie was clipped and all of the help and assistance is greatly appreciated.”