Birth Voices East Blog
Updates on what we're doing and how your feedback is making a difference
Local women have recently contacted us to voice concerns after news that from 31st March, there will no longer be a breastfeeding support contract in place for community-based breastfeeding services across Suffolk. Last year the same happened in the Great Yarmouth area, and women are told to talk to health visitors instead.
So what will change?
• No local breastfeeding hotline to support new mums having difficulties
• No home visits from trained breastfeeding practitioners who could refer to tongue tie clinics
• No funding for baby cafes, where trained volunteers are on hand to help with any problems or provide moral support about feeding in public
Once women leave hospital they don't stop needing support to breastfeed. Although initiation rates are high (82% in October at JPUH), by 6-8 weeks postnatal this drops to only 46% (full or combi-feeding) across Suffolk (Jan-July 2016, Public Health England data).
We are interested in hearing from local mums and pregnant women about what impact they feel this may have. We can then use this to make a case to Maternity Staff and Commissioners to explore what other funding sources might be available.
HAVE YOUR SAY
This week we met with a lady from Norfolk County Council Public Health to ask her about the changes in breastfeeding support for mothers in Norfolk. When Suffolk ladies leave the James Paget Hospital (JPUH), they receive a telephone call from the Breastfeeding Team within a few days to ask how they are getting on and offer a home visit if they need further support with feeding. From my own experience, it really does feel like you are supported every step of the way.
When Norfolk ladies leave the hospital, there has been confusion about what support they can receive. When calling the Suffolk hotline the team have to unfortunately turn them away and signpost them to services in Norfolk.
The upshot of the response was that there is still support out there for Norfolk mums- but it has now been transferred to the Health Visitors. The official response they have asked us to pass on is:
"In Norfolk, breastfeeding support is available via a Breastfeeding Practitioner and the Health Visitor Teams by telephone call, a home visit or clinic appointment. If you require breastfeeding support in Great Yarmouth locality, contact Mandi, Breastfeeding Practitioner on 07929 330165 or speak to your Health Visitor. There is a drop-in baby café every weekday in the Great Yarmouth and surrounding areas. To find out where your nearest baby café is, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/norfolkslivingwell. There is also a national breastfeeding hotline on 0300 100 0212 open 9:30am-9:30pm every day of the year. The breastfeeding rates at 6-8 weeks are monitored for all localities in Norfolk. It would be useful to hear feedback from local women on the support they have received."
We at Birth Voices are happy to pass on any feedback (positive or negative) from local women on how this is working. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form on this website.
Anyway, we just wanted to let you all know who to contact if you need help!
We also have a feedback survey on this page, so your experience of local maternity care can help JPH learn what is working well and what needs improving, so others can benefit from improved maternity care.
Thanks for reading,
Your 'Birth Voices' team x