As a sub-group of the MSLC is the Lewisham Breast Feeding group... I thought as chair of the MSLC I should check out one of their meetings... So this sunny Wednesday I strolled (sorry walked briskly) through Mountsfield and Ladywell Park to accompanied by Alex and birds twittering. My destination Ladywell Children's Centre a hidden gem let me tell you... What a lovely space but I wonder if anyone knows its there.. so well hidden?
The meeting is a much smaller group of peeps all working in Lewisham to promote, enable and support breastfeeding and birth and continued beyond 6-8 weeks. It was lovely to see Hazel who gave the breastfeeding talk during my antenatal classes and who I turned to for support when my first was four months old and Gill who is supporting mothers on the ward and training Lewisham's midwives. UHL and Lewisham PCT is working towards achieving Unicef breastfeeding status, busily training midwives, maternity support workers and health visitors, developing policies and practice that will take us forward in achieving the goal..... One thing I learnt from this meeting is that UHL and community health services are merging into one trust. Which means I think that Health visitors and midwives will be working for one organisation which should help provide a 'seamless service'....Well that's the hope!
However, health visitors in lewisham are down to 50% staffing capacity at the moment making everything a challenge for the team. The uncertainity over furture government funding for Children's Centres is also inhibiting ability to make too many decisions at the moment.
Other news is that Lewisham hospital will soon be offering a tongue tie clinic on the 3rd Weds of the month.
Overall a useful and interesting meeting .... especially learning that Lewisham has fairly high breastfeeding rates but supporting women to exclusively breastfeed to 6 months and beyond is an ongoing challenge. The first 6-8 weeks of breastfeeding for a mother is the crucial and often toughest time for women and this is where support is and should be targeted. For more information on Lewisham's support for breastfeeding take a look here.