Who are we?
Health visitors offer support and advice to parents with babies and children under the age of 5. Support is available to all families and a health visitor is allocated to each family during pregnancy or shortly after the birth of a new baby.
We understand that advice and support with feeding a new baby is often needed by families and all our health visitors are trained and experienced to provide this. The Trust is working towards full accreditation of the UNICEF (UK) Baby Friendly Award. Standards set out by UNICEF are nationally accredited and recommended by the Department of Health and NHS. We are committed to ensuring that all staff working with antenatal and postnatal mothers throughout Shropshire have had the necessary training to provide comprehensive, evidence based and up to date infant feeding support and information.
For more information about the Baby Friendly Initiative please visit: www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/
Research has shown...
Breastfed children are less likely to have the following:
- allergic illnesses including eczema, asthma
- ear infections (otitis media)
- chest infections
- urine infections
- vomiting and diarrhoea
Breastfed children are also:
- less likely to become obese
For mums, breastfeeding:
- reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer
- builds bone strength resulting in less bone fractures in later life
- burns more calories
The health visiting service offers support with infant feeding to all women and families.
Local breastfeeding support groups are available throughout the county, run in conjunction with local Children’s Centres. Health visitors are often present at these groups.
Please contact your health visiting team through your SPOA for one to one support or information on groups available in your area.
Out of Hours Support
If you would like support outside of office hours and would like to speak with a breastfeeding volunteer, please contact 07890631076 between 5pm and 9pm weekdays and 9am-9pm weekends and bank holidays. The breastfeeding volunteers are all current or former breastfeeding mothers who have received training to provide peer support.
Frequently asked questions
- Is there a good publication to prepare for breastfeeding?
Ask your midwife for your free copy of The Mothers and Others Guide. This has everything you need to know to get breastfeeding off to a good start. Remember to pack it to take into hospital if you are having your baby in hospital.
- I would like to come to a support group, do I need to book?
No, just turn up. Please contact your health visiting team for details of local group. Alternatively you can get support at any Under 1s Children's Centre Group.
- Should I try a feeding routine?
It is not advisable to try and get your baby into a feeding routine. This is detrimental to both short and long term milk production and will reduce your chances of successfully breastfeeding your baby.
- What's best when it comes to breastfeeding?
Frequent and unrestricted breastfeeding should be encouraged, ensuring that the baby is correctly positioned at the breast to enable effective removal of milk. Your midwife, Health Visitor or local breastfeeding supporter will help you in the early days. It is normal for newborn infants to feed very frequently as their stomachs are the size of a marble and can only hold small amounts therefore frequent feeding is normal human infant behaviour.
Some babies are sleepy in the early days. If your baby is sleepy just keep your baby close and enjoy long periods of skin contact to help encourage your baby to feed. Do not force your baby to the breast or allow anyone to hold your baby’s head to the breast. Your breastfeeding helper should hardly need to touch you or your baby at all. If the baby is not interested in feeding initially, they will not routinely be offered a formula feed, but your midwife may help you to express a little colostrum by hand to get your baby interested in feeding if necessary. Remember that your baby also needs to recover from the delivery and may just want to sleep initially.
Breasts may feel "full" of milk if feeds are delayed or drainage is inadequate. Engorgement rarely occurs when babies are allowed to feed on demand day and night.
- What if I find breastfeeding painful?
If breastfeeding is painful, something is wrong. Pain is not an inevitable part of breastfeeding, although some mothers may feel some discomfort at the very start of the feed.