Walk-in clinics for mums
Proposals to change breastfeeding services in the county have been temporarily withdrawn by Kent County Council.
The main changes included removing specialist support from walk-in clinics and making them referral only; no breastfeeding counsellors would be available at any groups or clinics and no groups would be run by peer-supporters alone.
The original consultation was due to end on September 3, however the proposal has now been withdrawn after many mothers and social media users expressed their opposition to the changes.
KCC leader Cllr Paul Carter said: “This year, the health visiting service has seen an investment of £21.85 million.
“By almost doubling the number of health visitors through this investment, we have the capacity to reshape the health visiting service alongside breastfeeding support.
“KCC is determined to deliver a comprehensive breastfeeding support service. We will be carrying out pre-consultation meetings in early September with mothers and other key stakeholders who are currently expressing concern.”
Mr Carter continued: “We are totally committed to supporting new mothers to breastfeed and are determined to deliver an enhanced breastfeeding advice service and are prepared to take extra time in rewording the consultation document to make clear our intentions and set out our proposals with absolute clarity.”
Tannice Hemming, 31, from Ash- ford, is a recently qualified peersupporter and among those resisting the proposals.
She has also set up a website – keepkentbreastfeeding.org – to show how the changes will affect new mums in the county.
She said: “I’m quite concerned how the changes will affect the rates of breastfeeding in the county and I’m worried mums will be failed.
“This mean you have to get an appointment or be referred, whereas now they operated on a walk-in basis.
‘You can’t expect mums to power through the worries, pain and emotions on their own’
Siân Jowett, 31, currently attends the Ashford breastfeeding service – which takes place every Thursday at the Willow Centre in Brookfield Road – with her youngest daughter, Marcy.
She said: “It became apparent with Marcy that something wasn’t right; there were problems with her feeding and it was a real struggle.
“I was lucky I had breastfed before so I knew something was wrong, but it was awful – what was meant to be a lovely bonding experience just wasn’t happening.”
Before attending the group,
“My daughter, Sienna, had tongue tie and I was able to see a lactation consultant straight away. I struggled with milk and
Tannice Hemming and her daughter Sienna