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Threat to South London BF support - please help

(32 Posts)
Funions Sat 20-Jun-15 14:34:37

Hi all,

The last time I found myself regularly in this topic was when I had a TOTAL nightmare establishing breastfeeding with my son who is now a healthy, happy 3 and half year old. My saviours were a group of amazing community midwives who run daily support clinics in my area of South London. Unfortunately, there are plans to withdraw this service (operated by Kings College Hospital). This will leave women without, as I'm sure you all appreciate, absolutely vital support when they need it most.

There is a petition on to help make our voices heard, as there has been NO community consultation on this. If you are or have been a user of this service, please sign. If you believe every mother who wants to breastfeed gets appropriate support, PLEASE SIGN.

We've already gathered 1,200 signatures in less than 48 hours, but would lovely to have the awesome power of Mumsnet behind this too. If this brilliant service is under threat, no doubt similar ones in your area will face pressure too. Don't let it happen.

Funions Sat 20-Jun-15 14:59:47

Please do share far and wide, with others who have benefitted from this type of service in the past. Thanks so much.

Funions Mon 22-Jun-15 18:34:44

Bumping this up. Our petition stands at 1,750 signature. Thanks so much if you've signed. If you haven't - please help us raise this up the agenda.

Services like this are a lifeline to women struggling with breastfeeding or looking for other practical advice which can be hard to find via the GP or health visitor route.

Dinesawwww Mon 22-Jun-15 19:13:22

That's terrible. I used the milk spots in S London a few years ago after major struggles feeding DC1 and they were a godsend. Would never have succeeded at bf without the amazing staff there, and meeting other new mums was invaluable too. Have signed and shared. X

Threesoundslikealot Mon 22-Jun-15 20:45:53

I tried to post a link to this and got moved off to surveys! I hope this doesn't happen to you as this petition is SO important. The Milkspots are gold standard community breastfeeding support and it would be dreadful news for families in South London if they are forced to close. I've signed the petition and so has DH, who saw what a difference they made to me, and our children. I was at one this morning and, as usual, there were mothers there desperate for expert advice and reassurance at a really stressful time. I have no idea where they'd go if these cafes were closed.

marshmallowpies Mon 22-Jun-15 20:49:15

They helped me massively too - I haven't been able to go so often with DC2 as (I'm sure many experience this) with a toddler on board already I can't get to breastfeeding cafes as easily as I used to. But they saved me this time round, with a baby who has been given formula in hospital and was refusing to breastfeed at 2 weeks.

I was beside myself with disappointment and frustration at not being able to feed. Now at nearly 5 months we are still BFing and I'm so relieved the community BF midwives helped me at that key moment I really needed the support.

Kings saying that these expert MWs are needed more on the ward is simply not true - it's when you are back home, once your milk is in and you are working to establish feeding, that's when the help in your community and close to home is really needed. I've seen so many women come in to those cafes in tears, and leave so much happier once they've been helped with feeding positions, winding, tongue tie or reflux advice, etc etc, the list goes on. The work these women do is more than just useful, it's a lifeline.

Funions Tue 23-Jun-15 19:32:26

We're just over a 100 away from reaching 2,000 signatures. Do please take a few seconds to sign if you can and get DHs/partners to do so too. There are some very heartfelt messages left by signers, from all over the UK. Thanks so much!!

DoloresLandingham Tue 23-Jun-15 21:04:41

Signed and shared.

Threesoundslikealot Tue 23-Jun-15 21:35:07

Brilliant work. It's only 60 from 2000 now.

MrsHenryMountbattenWindsor Tue 23-Jun-15 21:38:36

Signed! Good luck.

NewScenesOfJoy Tue 23-Jun-15 21:49:05

Also signed! Thanks for sharing.

Funions Wed 24-Jun-15 10:59:34

We actually have a last minute photo opp outside Rosendale Children's Centre (Herne Hill/West Dulwich) for the Evening Standard today (Wednesday 24 June) at midday. If anyone is in the local area and available - please come along with your baby/toddler to support...

Rosendale Rd, West Dulwich, London SE21 8LR, United Kingdom

Funions Wed 24-Jun-15 10:59:37

We actually have a last minute photo opp outside Rosendale Children's Centre (Herne Hill/West Dulwich) for the Evening Standard today (Wednesday 24 June) at midday. If anyone is in the local area and available - please come along with your baby/toddler to support...

Rosendale Rd, West Dulwich, London SE21 8LR, United Kingdom

TheXxed Wed 24-Jun-15 11:06:54

Hhmmmm I am little torn on this to be honest. Milk spots are generally not used be the entire community. In my personal experience its almost entirely wealthy white middle class women who use the service.

Considerating Lambeth/Southwark has a huge problem with poverty and deprivation I think Kings college hospital should use their limited resources on those who need it most.

MrsHenryMountbattenWindsor Wed 24-Jun-15 11:10:25

Because white middle class women don't need support with breastfeeding?

TheXxed Wed 24-Jun-15 11:17:50

MrsHenry actually I said when you have limited resources which Kings college does it should be spent on those who need it the most. I don't know if you understand the demography of Lambeth and Southwark, but its an area with high levels of poverty and deprivation.

Milk spots and under used and in my experience only utilitised buy a small wealthy minoirty. Kings college faces many challenges and wasting money on under utilitised services is a waste.

Funions Wed 24-Jun-15 11:32:08

Every session I attended in 2012 was packed, with queues to see the midwives and a diverse group of mums.

Every London borough is a patchwork. Lambeth has a commitment to raise breastfeeding rates across the board and these midwives, as far as I understand, will be redeployed to general labour ward duties, rather than the specialist area (infant feeding) where they have many years experience. The local authority has been given no notice of this and the service is being left in the lurch.

TheXxed Wed 24-Jun-15 11:39:01

There are certainly no queues at mine, also you are right Lambeth are committed to increasing bf rates so have the bf rates increased since this scheme was introduced? And if so by how much?

Also calling Lambeth a patchwork is laughable.

Funions Wed 24-Jun-15 14:36:37

Honestly, it's good to understand another point of view. It's very easy to become quite focused in these situations. Here's what I could find:

"The service has been running for 10 years with impressive results: the number of mothers initiating breastfeeding in Lambeth stood at 91.8% in 2013, far above the national average of 74%."

A nice picture from May this year.

TheXxed Wed 24-Jun-15 17:32:39

If memory serves me correctly iniating breastfeeding rates are measured in the post natal ward. Also I haven't been able to find any figures regarding bf rates at the 6 week stage 6 months or 12 months for Lambeth.

If this was a success Kings College would have advertised this information, the scheme has been running for 10 years ample time to collect data and analyse the results.

Cuts are being made everywhere, provision for adults with special needs has seen a real hit. Kings College would not have made this decision arbitrarily.

BreeVDKamp Wed 24-Jun-15 17:42:33

Oh no! I gave birth at Kings 4 weeks ago and the BF help has been v much appreciated - will sign!

Threesoundslikealot Wed 24-Jun-15 18:47:54

Kings seems to have made this decision in great haste and completely arbitrarily, without any consultation at all either with the local authorities concerned or the Maternity Services Liaison Committee.

I googled 'Lambeth six weeks breastfeeding rates' and this was the first result. Breastfeeding prevalence at six weeks has improved in Lambeth and sits well above the national rate.

Breastfeeding is even more important in communities with multiple deprivation indicators, so even more reason to support it in those areas.

TheXxed Wed 24-Jun-15 19:21:08

Threesounds , Lambeth has a significant immigrant population who are more likely to breastfeed.

Also where are the figures which show who is attending these sessions? and how effective are they at reaching reaching those who do not have a family history of bf? And where else should the cuts be made, mental health services have already been cut to the bone.

Threesoundslikealot Wed 24-Jun-15 19:45:38

Glad you've found your google mojo.

I've attended these cafes and met a variety of women from a variety of backgrounds. I suspect they are used more by those who don't have family support. As you clearly know well, the lowest group for breastfeeding in the UK is poor young white women. I have certainly met women who would fit broadly into that criteria, although obviously this is anecdata. The children's centres collect information on the cafe users including ethnic background and entitlement to benefits amongst others but I do not know what use they make of them. But a service that HVs refer women to, which is what the Milk Spots are, and which is in accessible, non-threatening locations, and open every weekday, which gives women the best possible chance of making it to a session, seems to me to be the best possible way of maximising the chance of reaching out to those women who might just spread the word about breastfeeding to friends and family.

I agree on mental health services. My family has personal experience of that too. Everything is cut to the bone. But funding these cafes is relatively low cost and delivers benefits. In fact, a recent study suggests that women who want to breastfeed but can't, for whatever reason, are twice as likely to get postnatal depression. So by withdrawing support services for breastfeeding, you make it more likely that mothers will need to access... adult mental health services.

This issue is for Kings, Lambeth and Southwark to resolve, and fund, between them.

PiratesMam Wed 24-Jun-15 23:13:20

Signed. I know so many women who have benefitted from these groups. Specialist support so important in those early days.

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