East Lancashire midwives blast baby milk axing on Burnley maternity ward
2:16pm Friday 4th October 2013 in News
MIDWIVES said the decision to stop providing free milk to newborn babies in East Lancashire risked damaging their relationship with new mums.
The axing of formula milk on the maternity ward at Burnley General Hospital has already been branded as ‘ridiculous and unacceptable’ by health campaigners, as reported in yesterday’s Lancashire Telegraph.
Hospital bosses said it would help boost breast-feeding rates and produce numerous health benefits. It will also save up to £24,000 a year.
But Janet Fyle, a professional policy advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “I think this is absolutely wrong. We support breastfeeding but all women should be given the choice.
“We shouldn’t be holding women to ransom by saying ‘if you’re not breastfeeding, we’re not giving you formula milk’. While the mother is in hospital she is given food and nutrition and the baby should also.
“I find it quite damaging actually, because of the hard work people have done over the years to support and encourage women to breastfeed. Holding a barrel to their heads is just going to make things worse. And it’s setting up midwives against parents.”
The move will also affect the midwife-led birthing units in Blackburn, Burnley and Rossendale. Vanessa Hollings, divisional general manager for family care at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Like all other hospitals, we support the initiation of breastfeeding with all new babies.
“We support all mothers in making their own choice on how they want to feed their babies and provide education and advice on all methods. However, like many other hospital trusts, we will now be unable to provide formula milk and mothers will need to ensure they bring in their own provision.”
Formula milk will still be available in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the postnatal ward for high-risk babies.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said the department did not have a policy on the matter and it would be down to individual trusts to decide.
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