New mums are now getting extra support to help breastfeed their babies and give them the best possible start in life following the introduction of a new specialist role at West Suffolk Hospital.
Colleen Greenwood, who was formerly a modern matron and midwife at the hospital, has been appointed as infant feeding coordinator.
The role will see her offer help and advice to parents while also taking responsibility for training around 200 colleagues from across the hospital to give them the skills they need to support mums.
Her overall aim is to increase the number of mothers who successfully breastfeed their babies, which brings with it huge health benefits for both parent and child.
“I am really pleased to have been appointed to this new post, which aims to make it easier for mums to access the support they need to breastfeed their babies,” said Colleen, who has worked at the hospital for around 25 years.
“Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of illnesses, including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as allergies and diabetes in childhood.
“It can also help protect mum too, by reducing the risk of some cancers.
“But it isn’t always easy and many mothers need support. My role will be to ensure they can access that help easily so that they can breastfeed their babies for longer.”
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust was awarded stage one of UNICEF’s baby friendly status earlier this year, in recognition of the support it offers parents to help them make informed decisions about feeding their babies.
It is hoped Colleen’s appointment, coupled with other initiatives due for introduction later this year, will help the hospital achieve stage two of the status by March 2015.
“The recommendation is for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for six months, but many feel they do not have enough milk and so stop a lot sooner,” added Colleen.
“Part of my role will be teaching staff skills to help mothers overcome problems, enabling them to feed for longer.
“I’ll be visiting our wards every day to see if anyone would like any support and to help them overcome any problems they may be having.”
Colleen’s post has been funded by the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), as part of a £200,000 project to support breastfeeding initiatives.
The remainder of the money will be used to introduce peer supporters, where women who have previously breastfed will be trained to help other new mums, as well as introducing a new guide to help new dads.
Dr Rakesh Raja, a GP in Sudbury and child health lead for the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Breastfeeding is the healthiest way for a new mother to give their baby the best start in life.
The CCG is committed to encouraging new mothers to breastfeed and this new appointment will strengthen the level of help and support available.”
For more information about breastfeeding support, visit www.wsh.nhs.uk and click on the maternity services photo on the homepage.