Thanks to a generous £17k donation by the Morrisons Foundation, CHSF has funded a vital breastfeeding project within the LCHU.

Children’s Cardiac Dietician Alix Dunlop-Jones told us all about it…

Breast milk provides many long-term health benefits to children which are widely published. Being fed with breast milk is particularly important for babies who are premature and/or have certain cardiac conditions due to their increased risk of developing a potentially severe infection called Nectrotising Enterocolitis (NEC).

 

On the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit (LCHU) it was found that there were significant barriers in supporting mothers to breastfeed, and mothers were describing expressing breast milk as a major stress put upon them at an already worrying time.

 

The two main barriers identified were a lack of staff who were knowledgeable about breastfeeding and a lack of equipment for mothers to express breast milk. The ward provision means mothers were having to share limited equipment, and queue for one specific room on the ward.

 

To add further pressure, mothers in trying to keep their breast milk supply going would need to walk over from local accommodation to the ward overnight to express milk, due to not having a portable pump or suitable storage space to allow them to express milk overnight where they were staying. Concerns were raised that these night-time walks over to the ward were safety risks, putting mothers in a potentially vulnerable position due to the city centre hospital location.

Alix Dunlop-Jones with new mobile breast pumps funded because of you!

Breastfeeding Champions Megan and Emma

“Mothers now feel safer, more comfortable and supported to express breast milk and breastfeed”

Dietician Alix with new dedicated breastfeeding fridge

A group of breastfeeding champions from different clinical backgrounds have been created within the LCHU. These champions have all received specialist training to support mothers of poorly infants more effectively and confidently.

 

After hearing about the issues facing mothers and the desire of staff within the LCHU to provide specialist care for them, CHSF has provided a large amount of support to get this project up and running.

 

Thanks to the generosity of the Morrisons Foundation, a range of breastfeeding and additional equipment has been bought for the LCHU. Mothers can express while with their baby and have less worry about needing to share pumps while on the ward. A selection of mobile breast pumps, along with appropriate storage facilities, mean mothers now no longer need to walk across to the hospital in the middle of the night as they can express breast milk overnight in local accommodation provided for them by CHSF.

Charlotte’s son Charlie was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and had to have open heart surgery when he was just five days old. She told us:

“I had never expressed with any of my other children but was supported so well by the nurses – initially on the post-natal ward and then through PICU. I was given access to an expressing machine whilst in hospital and was also loaned an electric pump to bring home which was just absolutely amazing.”

“Alix the dietician was amazing throughout and still is now! She not only talked out my expressing worries but she was able to talk through Charlie’s needs in a way we understood, helping us make the best choices and supporting me when I made the choice to stop expressing and move to formula at the right time for Charlie.”

“We still see Alix regularly where she keeps an eye on Charlie’s weight and supports us with our tube-feeding journey.”

Charlie after open heart surgery at five days old

We are so grateful to the Morrisons Foundation and to the staff of the LCHU. We want to provide the best care for all families, and the provision of additional equipment and training has played an integral role in achieving this care.

 

We have already had amazing feedback from mothers who now feel safer, more comfortable and supported to express breast milk and breastfeed. Thank you.

FURTHER READING

Cardiac Dietician Alix has written a booklet called ‘Breastfeeding on the Cardiac Ward’ which has been designed and printed by CHSF thanks to your donations.

This project has only been made possible by the generous support of the Morrisons Foundation

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