Archive for November, 2014

Breastfeeding vouchers for new mums

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

4,000 new mothers in the UK will be offered shopping vouchers if they breastfeed their babies, as part of a full-scale trial. In a pilot study involving over 100 Mums in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, two thirds of women who signed up to the scheme were claiming the vouchers at six to eight weeks, a breastfeeding rate higher than the national average.

Ladies taking part in the trial received up to £200 to spend at shops such as John Lewis, Matalan, Argos and big supermarkets if health professionals confirmed they were feeding their babies breast milk. Researchers hope the scheme will boost Britain’s breastfeeding rate, improving children’s health and cutting costs for the NHS. The World Health Organisation recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed until the age of six months, but only 1 per cent of British babies meet this target.

What are the pros and cons of the scheme? It’s reported that some NHS staff are uneasy about “bribing” mothers, saying they should be offered support instead of cash. Cathy Warwick of the Royal College of Midwives said “Incentivising public health behaviour through monetary reward will always be contentious. However, the RCM believes that alternative ways of increasing breastfeeding rates also need attention.”

Some mums stop breastfeeding for circumstances they feel are beyond their control (not producing enough milk to satisfy baby, or because of exhaustion breastfeeding can lead to if unsupported, for example). This in turn can lead to some new Mums feeling guilty that they are no longer breastfeeding- will this be compounded by feeling that they are now missing out on vouchers?

On the other hand, the financial incentive may increase breastfeeding rates, which must be a good thing overall- certainly the case study suggests this willl be the case.

Where will the money comes from? Would the money be better spent on breastfeeding support services? Why are the vouchers not available to spend in independent local shops? Why should only the ‘big’ businesses benefit from the increased purchasing power of these parents? For example, new Mums wouldn’t be able to use their vouchers to buy a Baby Feed Wheel to help keep track for their baby’s feed times from Chiggs or from one of our lovely independent stockists, so they would miss out on this useful piece of breastfeeding assistance!

Hollywood comes to Harrogate

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

The beautiful Montpellier Quarter of Harrogate has seen some changes over the last couple of days, as a film crew has rolled into town!

The cobbled, picturesque district has been transformed into a part of Switzerland for a new film being shot in Harrogate.

The first clue was a sign saying “Montpellier Street is currently being dressed in preparation for a new film The Hunter’s Prayer, some shop names have been changed for this reason.”

When I went to have a look this morning, the weather was shocking which may explain why no filming was taking place! I walked from the centre of town towards the Crown Hotel, and down Montpellier Street itself towards The Stray. There are no signs of film crews and all their paraphernalia if approaching from that direction, so I really felt as though I was walking down a lovely cobbled Swiss street!

I love how the Slug and Lettuce pub is exhibiting a split personality, Slug on one side, rotisserie on the other!

Once through the Street, though, the full extent of the operation becomes apparent. There are lorries upon lorries upon marquees upon caravans! It really makes you realise how much work and how many people it takes to produce a film.

Here at Chiggs we can’t wait for the film to be released, so we can see our little piece of Switzerland-in-Harrogate in all its glory!

100 years of commercial flight- that’s a lot of hot towels!

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

2014 is the 100th anniversary of commercial flight.  100 years! It’s really incredible. Although my job now is running Chiggs, in (what feels like!) a previous life I worked as an Air Stewardess.

A (very youthful) Air Stewardess me!

I’ve always been fascinated by aeroplanes, and loved the buzz of the aviation industry- smart in uniform, make-up & lipstick on, professional smile in place.  I made some wonderful friends who I still meet regularly, (even though all our lives revolve more around sibling disagreements than safety demonstrations, supermarket trolleys than service trolleys and bedtimes than timetables -although the early starts are the same!)

A post on Britmums really made me think about my holiday bucket list. For a while now (especially since I ‘celebrated’ a birthday with a zero at the end a couple of years ago) we have taked about visiting Zambia as a family. I would love to take my husband and daughter to see the country of my birth; I was born in Zambia, but my family left when I was just a toddler, and I haven’t been back since. One day I hope that we will be able to visit the majestic Victoria Falls (known in Zambia as ‘the smoke that thunders’- just the phrase sends tingles down my spine!) and see the ‘Big 5’ on safari.

This post is an entry for the #Flying100 Family Holiday Challenge, celebrating how flying allows us to make memories and ‘be there’, in association with #Flying100. Find out more at http://bit.ly/flying100