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24/7 Mobile Breastfeeding Support with local focus
Breastfeeding rates in Milton Keynes need to increase to improve health outcomes and reduce costs to Public Health and NHS providers. The least likely to breastfeed are those from low socioeconomic backgrounds or younger age ranges. 97% of women who gave up breastfeeding didn’t want to and state reasons such as lack of support and inconsistency. We are keen to look at ideal methods to engage with all mothers in Milton Keynes without exclusion, therefore an information and signposting breastfeeding hub in the form of a mobile app would be developed. This would also be used by health professionals to ensure consistent evidence based advice support is given to all mothers. This will relate to the new standards the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative have developed to facilitate Baby Friendly accreditation for Health Visiting and Children Centre services. Therefore this will be a double edged initiative supporting Mothers, babies and their families and supporting those who support them.
Breastfeeding is the ‘normal’ way for a human baby to feed, this is not seen however as the cultural norm replicated in media depictions of a baby being fed using a bottle and women being undermined in their capability to breastfeed. This has led to a lack of understanding and acceptance of the breastfeeding dyad and the impact this has upon emotional attachment and parenting skills. The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative has implemented its set of standards to ensure women are given evidence based information to make their Infant feeding choices with the needs of them and their child at the forefront and if they choose to formula feed to minimize the risks to their health and relationship building.
Evidence is wide and robust on the benefits of breastfeeding in terms of health outcomes for both the mother and baby. More specifically those that are at greater risk of poor health outcomes due to their socioeconomic inequalities could improve these statistics by breastfeeding, unfortunately they are the least likely to breastfeed. This would in turn improve the health of the nation and reduce costs to the NHS considerably. UK government policy to recognises that breastfeeding is a major public health issue and low breastfeeding rates result in significant costs to the National Health Services.
Go Breastfeeding MK objectives are for a central hub of information and signposting for professionals and the public to use, linking users to contemporary, evidence based advice and links to national support. The hub will take the form of a mobile App that would be developed with approximately 9 Access Icons; Why Breastfeed?, How to Breastfeed, How to Express, Frequently Asked Questions, Who Can Help? Where can I Breastfeed? Professionals Resource, Breastfeeding Statistics (further options to be considered). We are hoping to procure local digital resource, potentially on a voluntary support basis to aid the development of our App. Each section will go to another set of subsections, potentially 3, to go onto a mobile phone screen comfortably, then onto a final page of solutions or signposting to further specialist information/support. The Professionals area will link directly to the questions staff will be asked by the UNICEF assessors and will work as a prompt or revision tool for the Practical Skills Assessment. A trial of the app will be carried out over 6 months to establish its use and perfect any glitches.