Rosie Hospital supporting a sea-change in attitude towards breastfeeding - do you agree with it? Let us know your thoughts

At the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, the midwifery team is supporting a sea-change in attitude toward

At the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, the midwifery team is supporting a sea-change in attitude towards breastfeeding - Credit: Archant

At the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, the midwifery team is supporting a sea-change in attitude towards breastfeeding.

Scientific research widely supports the idea that breast-milk provides the best nutritional start for babies. Yet many people are still unaware of the benefits of breast milk and automatically assume bottle feeding will work just as well.

Victoria Leith is a public health midwife at the Rosie: “Few families having children today have witnessed breastfeeding in real life and culturally we are more used to seeing babies being bottle fed. Sadly, this can leave families feeling unprepared to support breastfeeding mothers and babies and to understand the different rhythms by which a breastfed baby feeds.”

This is where Head of Infant Feeding at the Rosie, Jo Watt, and her team come in. Jo, Victoria and another Lactation Consultant, Paula Peirce, help spread the message through community support groups, assisting in hospitals and offering training for midwives. “If a newborn is having trouble latching on and the midwife on the ward hasn’t been able to solve the problem we may be called in to offer specialist support,” says Victoria. “But most of our work goes on before the baby is born. We offer workshops and a breastfeeding master class, to teach women about the enormous benefits they give their child through breastfeeding, and to motivate them to keep trying if they’re having problems.”

According to the World Health Organisation, breast milk is specifically tailored to provide the exact nutrients needed to promote healthy growth and development. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended as the best available nutrition for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding, along with appropriate complementary foods, until the child is fully weaned.

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Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large. But when this isn’t possible, Victoria and her colleagues are there to help: “We are very focused on promoting the relationship between mother and baby, even from very early on in pregnancy, to encourage responsive parenting. Close and loving relationships are so important to early development, regardless of feeding method and staff at the Rosie are committed to supporting all parents to do this. We’re also working to achieving the UNICEF Stage Two standard of ‘Baby Friendly Status’ for the Rosie. It means we are good at supporting families in promoting breast feeding and providing the best start for newborns.”

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