Birth Voices East Blog
Updates on what we're doing and how your feedback is making a difference
You may have seen the recent Facebook posts from dedicated community Peer Supporters who discovered, with little notice, that funding for this service was being withdrawn from East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) by Suffolk County Council (SCC).
Cuts would include not only the paid Breastfeeding Practitioners who until recently visited the homes of women that were struggling, provided one to one support as well as being qualified to diagnose and refer for Tongue Ties, (missed diagnosis in the newborn checks being an issue we hear about often), but the equally hard working unpaid volunteers who run community based Baby Cafe's for pregnant women, new mum's and their families to attend were also being cut. The cafe's provide a haven where mum's can comfortably feed their babies without fear of any negativity towards breastfeeding; building up confidence to feed publicly, they meet UNICEF accredited Peer Supporters who can help mum's to correctly latch their baby and give heaps of useful information like expressing and safely storing milk. Not just that, they know how it really feels to have been up all night the previous night, they're mum's too, giving up their time and a listening ear.
The Facebook posts were very emotive and we could see how angry local parents were at this service being withdrawn, not to mention the disappointment from the volunteers who were not involved in any way in the discussions around the service being withdrawn.
We felt that due to our unique position of regularly interacting with the stakeholders who are key in Maternity Services decision making, we could provide a platform for Peer Supporters and local women by bringing all of the right people together in one room.
Here are some of the outcomes-
The fact that Baby Café’s will continue to run and that the JPUH are benefitting from additional Peer Supporters (and still recruiting more to support at the hospital) is great news for local women.
It's not the same level of service that there previously was though, where Breastfeeding Practitioners would do home visits and were able to refer for tongue ties etc. We will monitor feedback from women and if it becomes clear that this reduction in service is affecting local parents, we will feed this back to the relevant decision makers and push for change.
Get in touch if you want to support with the work Birth Voices East does.