Posts Tagged ‘NHS’

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!

Pregnancy yoga is a stress buster.

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

A study from the universities of Newcastle and Manchester has found that Yoga can cut the risk of stress in pregnant women.

The study, thought to be the first of its kind,  followed 59 women in their first pregnancy. Divided into two groups,  they were assigned either an eight-week course of yoga or “treatment as usual”.

The 31 women in the yoga group took one session of hatha yoga every week. This is a gentle, basic, slow-paced stretching class with simple breathing exercises and seated meditation. Before the first session, they were asked to measure their general mood on a scale where more than 39 meant “high anxiety”. After the first week, their average score had fallen from 37 to 25. Their levels of the stress hormone cortisol also went down, by 14 per cent.

As  Antenatal stress has been linked to premature birth and developmental problems after the baby is born, it has been suggested that free yoga classes on the NHS for mothers-to-be would help reduce the costs of longer-term healthcare for the women and babies.

Midwifery services may be “pushed” according to the Royal College of Midwives!

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has warned that maternity services in parts of the UK are being ‘stretched’.

 The second annual State of Maternity Services report, published yesterday, says a baby boom in England (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have slowed down somewhat),  means that the birth rate in England it now stands at it’s highest level since 1971.

Coupled with a national shortage of midwives, some maternity services are struggling to provide the service they would like:-According to the report, 20% of  women did not feel supported by the NHS during their pregnancy and birth, while 40% of women had always seen a different midwife during their most recent pregnancy.

It’s not all bad news,  the report highlights that as in some areas the baby boom has run out of steam, Scotland and Northern Ireland have no overall shortage of midwives, and the shortage the report identifies in Wales should easily be eliminated.

One way the gap in maternity services may be filled in the near future, is by an increase in the number of newly qualified midwives. Anglia Ruskin University say it has had an 11% increase in applicants for the BSc (Hons) midwifery course with, they say, many applicants citing the BBC TV programme Call The Midwife as their inspiration. I can’t help but think that someone considering a career in modern midwifery might want to use Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute as a point of reference, rather than the more romanticised 1950’s Call the Midwife version of the job!

The report from The Royal College of Midwives itself is really interesting, and can be read here.

New Mum News.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

More new mums are opting to breastfeed but very few stick at it for long enough, according to the latest UK figures from the NHS  (2010 Infant Feeding Survey). A  poll of more than 10,000 women was taken, showing that 81 in every 100 start breastfeeding, (up from 76 in 2005). However, after one week fewer than half of all new mothers are still exclusively breastfeeding. The commentary to go with the study says that new mums are facing the same common reasons for stopping breastfeeding- problems with the baby rejecting the breast or not latching on properly, having painful breasts or nipples and feeling that they had ‘insufficient milk’. 

In other breastfeeding news, there has been rather a lot of discussion on various social media platforms about a new breastfeeding dolly for little girls that has come on the market. Called the ‘breast milk baby’, the doll comes with a little top for a child to wear which has a couple of  little flowers on the front which are used to nurse the doll. The doll then needs winding properly or it wails. And the point that has caused most controversy?  The doll costs a whopping $89!