Let's DO something then!(51 Posts)
Right. Everyone agrees that there needs to be more support for those women who do want to breastfeed (regardless of the 'politics' of it all, this is about women who want to do it and are let down by the system - I am not starting another breast/bottle debate here ladies!).
So, instead of writing reams of stuff about how support should be better on MN, why not write to your MP?
I've been to the hospital where I had DS and talked to them about their (lamentable) breastfeeding support - they agreed it was poor and said they wanted an infant feeding specialist, fully trained in breastfeeding support, as a paid post in the hospital, but the funding wasn't there. Well, I think that the Government should fund these posts in hospitals.
Will anyone else join me in writing a fax/email to their MP to this effect using the handy Fax Your MP website ?
Anyone else? I'm writing mine now! You can also fax your MEP and if you're in London, your representative on the London Assembly.
My MP has been very supportive in general of my local PCT's b/f initiatives. She presented us with our certificates. We have an infant feeding so-ordinator (well 2 on a jobshare one of whom is an NCT bfc) trained mother peer supporters and breastfeeding drop in groups. There is also a local 24 hour helpline staffed by midwives and HV's who are specialists.
Unfortuately at the nearest hospital (covered by a different PCT althouth the dedicated b/f co-ordinator is lovely she can't be there 24 hours and some of the advice I have heard about is appalling.
I'm pleased to report that my MP is already pro-bfeeding. I had quite a long chat to him, at an NCT fundraiser, about boobs and bfing bras!! He has three children himself so I guess it's of interest to him.
I'm in Vancouver until the end of the summer so I don't have an MP to write to.
However, I was thinking of designing a poster that could be displayed in all rooms of all maternity wards. Diagrams of a good latch, frequency of feeding, when to expect your milk to come in, how long babies can 'survive' on colostrum, how to deal with engorgement and blocked ducts etc etc. A cheap way to provide sound advice? I'd like to send this to the DoH, along with a summary of the breastfeeding support here in Vancouver. I wonder if they'll listen...
My DH is a cardiologist and a few years ago the DoH started throwing money to his speciality. I maintain that half of that money should go toward primary health care initiatives to prevent obesity and cardiac disease before they become a problem. Breastfeeding support, cheap healthy food and yummy food in schools.
The Baby Eleanor poster is good for showing a good latch.
I hate my MP. I glare at her house regularly. I hope she gets defeated at the next election.
But I have sent an email today to volunteer to speak at the local BF thing at the hospital. And I'm debating training as a BFC, as a friend is offering courses.
I'll pop mine through the letterbox when i get home as he lives next door to me! Lovely man too !
Hunker, you are a woman of action!
Thanks ladies. Not sure about woman of action (if I am, why do I weigh as much as a small country?!) but I do like a good campaign
Had a reply from my MP this morning - he says I raise valid points and has passed them on to the Minister of Health. He'll be in touch again when he has a reply. He's very good, my MP. Always replies at light speed!
(I also said that six months paid maternity leave wasn't long enough for mums who want to breastfeed and have mortgages to pay, since most women don't take maternity leave from the moment their baby's born, often it's several weeks before!)
Anyone feeling like they want to write something to their MP tonight?
Haven't read this whole thread.
But from the first comment I was a bit surprised. I would not have thought breastfeeding was a matter for an MP !!!!
Isn't it really up to all women to help and support other women. I think mums, aunties, friends etc are the people to help. Its not usually a medical issue just a support issue.
The NHS surely should be diverting their funds towards medical problems. Breastfeeding is more a social issue. I don't think the government are responsible for this stuff. Its more a matter for family.
We are responsible to the people we know to offer our help.
Also the National Childbirth Trust will always put people into contact with a breastfeeding helper if women have not got any other women around them that can help. It could just be on the end of a phone but then so could your mum be.I really think that this is putting responsibility of community not government.
I'm sorry, Flum, but I disagree. Improving the breastfeeding rate is one of the simplest ways to improve the health of the nation, not just babies, but their mothers too. This IS a matter for the NHS and central Government, not just the community.
I think you're both spot on (Hunkermunker and Flum) so can anyone spare time to become a La Leche Peer supporter (I am ) and write to their MP? Perfect tactical assualt.... go in from more than one angle .
My way of thinking is that it may well (is bound to!) take the government yonks to put any feasible structures in place (which is why relentless lobbying is crucial!), so in the meantime people can help from within society?
Flum, it's government who can make resources available for training healthcare professionals in supporting breastfeeding.
It's government who can make it compulsory for employers to support flexible hours and facilities for breastfeeding workers.
It's government who can decide to make it illegal for formula milk manufacturers to stop undermining breastfeeding with their ads and promotions.
It's government which can produce educational materials for parents.
It's government who can include knowledge of infant nutrition in the school curriculum.
And so on : )
The volunteer organisations - trained counsellors and peer supporters - are never, ever going to fill these gaps. You are talking about a few hundred women in the UK, when there are 600,000 babies born every year.
I want to train as a b/f counsellor then when govt money eventually filters through as a lactation specialist. I'll even pay for my own training if there would be a job at the end of it.
I really care about helping women who want to but lack the help - it gets me so wound up!
I will fax my MP!
Flum - if the support and promotion of breastfeeding isn't a matter for the govt then I don't know what is.
Of course, you're right to say that there should be social, family-based support as well. It would be great if new mothers were encouraged and supported by their own mothers, their partners, their friends, even their local cafe owners so they could feel confident breastfeeding away from the house. But a quick look at the bf topic just on MN will tell you how often this isn't the case.
Tiktok and HunkerMunker have made good points that I won't recycle! But I feel very, very strongly that this is a fundamental health issue and should be receiving FAR more support from those who hold the pursestrings.
Haven't heard anything back from the DoH yet, but does anyone else want to give it a go? Make these MPs work for our votes in May
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