Walk-in clin­ics for mums

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Breastfeeding Support - By Kristina Cur­tis

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

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