I have a couple of friends who have just finished their training as Breastfeeding Counsellors. They often deal with mothers who have been given truly APPALLING advice from Health Visitors in local surgeries.
Should they complain about these Health Visitors, or take some other course of action? If so, what?
Oh sorry, just read the rest of the thread. Not too constructive so far are we?
I think what they should do, is get the NCT to approach the individual surgeries, with copies of the advice from the mothers themselves (if the mothers are willing to be named or otherwise they might have to do it anonymously), and to suggest (from the NCT because it is a respectable organisation) that their services as bf counsellors be offered to the surgery and hv's as a standard, in order to ensure that those surgeries are offering the most up to date and accurate advice to mothers.
The NCT should then set up a section on their site where surgeries who have NCT accredited bf counsellors advising doctors, MW's and HV's are accredited, and those who have refused their advice, are named and shamed, so that mothers who want proper advice know which surgeries to avoid.
They definitely need to do something. I am a HV who was also a midwife. I get a real joy from going in and helping women with breastfeeding problems - especially when I see them six months later and they are still feeding.
However, as a trainee health visitor I was given just 2 hours of breastfeeding theory of which 50% was the anatomy and physiology of the breast. My "practical" training was spent in the company of a HV who hadn't breastfed and wasn't interested. No wonder some HVs are so appalling.
As breastfeeding is a major public health issue I am amazed that it is not given higher priority.
What action should be taken?
1. Complain about the advice being given (write to the Modern Matron for Community Care).
2. Copy in the local MP (and possibly write a seperate letter saying that it isn't being given high enough priority).
3. Offer to go and see the HVs and help them to update. There is never any shame in continuing to learn - I'm considering asking our local BF counsellor if I can spend some time with her to see what she does and what advice is different. I bet some HVs would welcome this - there's nothing worse than feeling defeated when a Mum asks you for help and support.
I think all health visitors should have much more breastfeeding training then they actually get. Its awful that some just dont have a clue! Im lucky, my health visitor is like a breastfeeding encyclopedia!! She has been a star, I just wish other ppl had access to such good HV's. Anyway that hasnt answered the question! I think the sugeries should be made aware and extra training provided.
I can't understand why the NHS doesn't employ breastfeeding counsellors. they could probably pay them under £20,000/ year and it would free up midwives and HV to do other things and most importantly mothers would get expert advice and perhaps more time and one on one help with breastfeeding. These people could work in hospitals and in community. I bet there would be some far reaching health benefits to the NHS. Anyone in the NHS know why this can't happen?