Training and Guidance

Finding time to attend training has traditionally been difficult for health professionals.

In response to this, UNICEF UK has developed online training packages to provide GPs and Paediatricians with all the information they require to support mothers. 

Training for GPs

The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) team have developed this online learning package for GP's and Practice Nurses containing all the information necessary to support a breastfeeding mother, particularly one who may be experiencing problems.

The training is free and has been financed by Public Health and Wellbeing, Royal Borough of Greenwich and will take approximately 25 minutes to complete.

It consists of a short tutorial with several multiple choice questions checking key concepts. It is endorsed by the Royal College of GP’s.  On completion of the training, a certificate is produced.

If you would like to complete the e-learning package, please contact: breastfeeding@royalgreenwich.gov.uk and speak to the Infant Nutrition Coordinator who will provide you with the necessary log-in details and supporting information.

Any clinical questions?  Please contact your link midwife or health visitor or one of the infant feeding advisors

Training for Paediatricians

The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) team have developed this online learning package for paediatricians containing all the information necessary to support a breastfeeding mother, particularly one who may be experiencing problems.

It consists of a short tutorial with several multiple choice questions checking the key concepts. It is endorsed by the Royal College of paediatricians and Child Health.  On completion of the training, a certificate is produced.

If you would like to complete the E-learning package, please email: melanie.phillips1@nhs.net who will provide you with the necessary log-in details and supporting information.

Any clinical questions?  Please contact your link midwife or one of the infant feeding advisors

Breastfeeding Benefits

The method of infant feeding has short and long-term health implications for mothers and babies.

Successful advertising by the formula industry has led to a widespread misconception, by almost everyone, that formula milk can replace breast milk without any harm. However, infant formula remains solely a nutritionally 'adequate' substitute to breastmilk. 

It is crucial that staff understand their own role in giving/reinforcing knowledge about the importance of breastfeeding.

In the baby, breastfeeding reduces the risk of infections, allergies, sudden infant death syndrome, insulin dependent diabetes and childhood leukaemia.

In the mother, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. 

In both mother and baby, in the longer term, breastfeeding reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity. 

UNICEF BFI standards require that pregnant women are informed about the health benefits of breastfeeding. Information about health benefits should include evidence-based information on the specific protection from illnesses to mother and baby.

Click here to visit UNICEF Baby Friendly's research overview.

Long term effects of breastfeeding A Systematic Review WHO 2013.pdf

 

Anatomy and Physiology of Breastfeeding

Physiology of breastfeeding - How breastfeeding works

BIRTH After the birth of the baby (and the placenta) levels of pregnancy hormones in the bloodstream fall and levels of the milk-producing hormone prolactin rise. The levels peak in response to to touch and stimulation of the breast and nipple, preferably from the baby nuzzling and suckling. During the early days and weeks frequient peaks of prolactin result in the switching on of the milk-producing cells as the hormone enters the cells via receptor sites. The earlier and more frequently the breasts/nipples are stimulated through touch and/or suckling, the more milk-producing cells will be activated. This is necessary for long-term milk production. 

'LET-DOWN' Oxytocin works on the muscle cells, causing them to contract and squeeze milk down to the baby. This is often referred to as the 'let down' reflex. Stress can temporarily delay the let down, but simple relaxation or breast massage will overcome this. Oxytocin also increases blood circulation in the breast to warm a feeding baby and releases stored nutrients into milk. 

HORMONES Prolactin and oxytocin circulate in the bloodstream and affect both breasts. 

FEEDBACK INHIBITOR OF LACTATION Feedback Inhibitor of lactation (FIL) is a protein within the milk, which alerts the milk producing cells to stop making milk if the breasts become full. As milk is removed FIL levels fall and milk production recommences. Therefore, the more milk that is removed from the breast the more milk is made.  

MOTHERING INSTINCTS Prolactin and oxytocin also have a psychological effect on the mother and baby. Working together they produce feelings of calmness in both. They are also the hormones that help a mother fall in love with her baby and want to hold, stroke and protect him. 

Click here for First Step Nutrition's Breastmilk and breastfeeding a simple guide.pdf

Click here to read more about milk production on kellymom.com

Information courtesy of UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative

 

Skin to Skin Contact

There are many studies that show that mothers and babies should be together, skin-to-skin (baby naked, not wrapped in a blanket) immediately after birth, as well as later.

Skin contact helps to: 

  • trigger hormonal release 
  • calm and relax mother and baby
  • regulate heart rate and breathing 
  • regulate temperature 
  • stimulate feeding behaviour 
  • stimulate digestion

Skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth also allows the baby to be colonised by the same bacteria as the mother, which alongside breastfeeding, is thought to be important in the prevention of allergic diseases.

For further research about the value of immediate and continuous skin to skin contact please visit the UNICEF UK BFI  or the International Breastfeeding Centre websites.

Key Research Papers

Investing in Breastfeeding

This year, Lancet published a series of articles on breastfeeding.

Click here to download 'Why invest, and what it will take to improve breastfeeding practices'

Click here to download Editorial, Breastfeeding: achieving the new normal

Click here to download Breastfeeding: a smart investment in people and in economies

The Benefits of Breastfeeding 

Click here to download ACTA PAEDIATRICA (2015) Special issue on the impact of breastfeeding on maternal and child health.

Click here to download LANCET (2016) Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect

Breastfeeding by UK mothers rises

The proportion of new mothers who start to breastfeed their babies has risen in the past five years from 76% to 81% across the UK, according to new official figures.

Click here for Infant Feeding Survey 2010

Infant Formula Companies 

Click here to download LANCET (2016) Spotlight on infant formula: coordinated global action needed

Click here to download ACCESS TO NUTRITION INDEX (2016) published a supplement on BMS, looking at how far companies are complying – or not – with the Code.

Breastfeeding Boosts Children's Brains

A new study has found that breastfeeding helps brain development.

Babies breastfed in first four weeks are still outperforming their peers in school at age 14

Click here for NHS Choices information about the study

Are Breastfed Babies Better Behaved?

NHS CHOICES report

“Mums should breastfeed for at least four months to avoid having naughty kids,” reported The Sun.

Click here for NHS CHOICES

Greenwich Breastfeeding Policy

Greenwich staff policy and guide on breastfeeding

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Greenwich TPCT believes that breastfeeding is the healthiest way for a woman to feed her baby and recognises the important health benefits now known to exist for both the mother and her child.

Read the Greenwich Staff Policy and Guide on Breastfeeding (PDF) 

 

Greenwich Breastfeeding Policy Statement

Breastfeeding has many health benefits for infants and mothers. Breastfeeding provides all that a baby needs to develop and thrive for the first six months of life. There is a great deal of evidence that shows breastfeeding improves the health of babies.

Read the Parents' Policy (PDF)

These courses have now been endorsed by the Royal College of GPs and the RCPCH