So this is my final blog post before I have the privilege of hosting a #WeNurses Twitter chat on Thursday 7 May (far more exciting than the general election!). In Part 1 I outlined the #hospitalbreastfeeding campaign to the end of 2014, and in my post last Friday I quoted from a couple of articles that have come out of the campaign.
Today I want to bring you up to date with developments from the start of this year.
First for the good news! Liz Grady, Medela and Ronald McDonald House, Alder Hey, all came together to get a hospital grade breast pump for the use of families staying in “Mac House”. This pump was donated by Medela and will make a huge difference to breastfeeding families, as they will no longer have to trek across to the hospital to express during the night. I had the privilege of being there on the day the pump was officially handed over to Mac House Manager Lynne.
Liz has also done an audit of breastfeeding families in the hospital, and the results were mainly positive, with most of the 22 respondents being happy with the support they have received. It is worth bearing in mind that of those respondents most had breastfed before and have not suffered any physical or mental illnesses since their baby was born, so are in a good place to breastfeed successfully, but still a positive outcome.
I was delighted to be able to introduce Liz to the lovely Kylie Hodges of Bliss North West, who is hoping to work with Alder Hey to introduce Bliss Champions to the wards. Starting on neonatal, Kylie is going to seek out Bliss Champions who are also trained breastfeeding peer supporters, the combination of these two sets of training being ideal for the Alder Hey environment. If this works out then similar volunteers could be introduced onto other wards in the hospital.
Whilst all this is going on, I am taking the #hospitalbreastfeeding message to a couple of events in June, as I am attending the Manchester Breastfeeding Festival and the annual conference of the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers. Look out for my posters and information and come and say hi if you are attending!
Sadly, there is also bad news to share. Liz Grady’s Health Promotions remit has changed, and she will now be providing far less breastfeeding support at Alder Hey. It is not clear who, if anybody, will be taking over the oversight for breastfeeding support at the hospital. I have written to Louise Shepherd, Alder Hey CEO, to express my concerns in this regard. I have not yet had a response, although Louise has kindly acknowledged my email, so I will not share my thoughts just yet before Louise has had a chance to comment.
I would very much like to see Alder Hey one day reach Baby Friendly status as befits the North West’s premier paediatric hospital. At the moment that day seems a very long way off. Do you work in a children’s hospital? How close does that day feel to you?
For more information on how supporting breastfeeding can help you in your role – and how you can be supported to help breastfeeding mothers – visit http://resources.heartmummy.co.uk/