Updates from November, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • collettec 12:19 pm on 28th November 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Pregnant with no recourse to public funds 

    One pregnant lady receiving support from the POWs service who was living with a friend,  has no Leave To Remain in the UK, benefited from the food bank at Gateway.  The lady who is from Malawi, Africa has no family support and is not entitled to any form of benefits therefore she has  recieved 3 food parcels in total.  This was while she was waiting for an appointment at the Law centre and Narthex a charity who support local communities.   As she is now 25 weeks pregnant her status is not resolved, social services were involved but are not anymore because she has overstayed in the UK, for this lady life looks bleak as she struggles to get by with help from the POW service.

  • collettec 9:21 am on 13th November 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Breastfeeding has an image problem 

    A recent report commissioned by UNICEF UK summarises that “breastfeeding could save the NHS millions“. So why are so many clients reluctant to breastfeed?

    Encouraging clients to consider breastfeeding as an option for their new baby is a constant battle for the POWs. But why?

    The reasons may seem odd to those of us who were brought up with the slogan “breast is best”.

    They just prefer formula

    Many young women simply believe that formula milk is better for the baby. Bottle feeding is seen as “cleaner” and easier.

    Formula milk – the “designer” option – is now the norm. One of my clients, who has a 3 week old baby, refused outright to breastfeed because, as she told me, “I don’t want people to think I can’t afford milk”. Despite lack of funds, many clients use brand name formula, brand name bottles and brand name nappies as part of their social identity.

    Some women don’t even really know what formula is. I had to explain to one client that it is powdered cow’s milk; she had been under the impression it was powdered breast milk. It might seem shocking to us, but how would she know either way? It’s not covered in schools, after all.

    They just can’t relate

    For many young women, the only experience of breastfeeding they have is what they see in the media – where breastfeeding is not really spoken about, let alone seen as a normal, natural process.

    Most of the time, of course, breasts are only shown in a sexualised way. And so the idea of breastfeeding in front of anyone – even their own mother or midwife – is unthinkable to a lot of our clients.

    If a TV programme or magazine does cover breastfeeding, it tends to show the extremes – late stage breastfeeding, for example. But our young mums don’t want to take their lead from people they see as unusual. They need to see breastfeeding role models from the celebrity world.

    Whilst breastfeeding barely gets any promotion in the media, adverts for formula feed – “the next best thing” – are all over the TV. It’s not surprising that formula has taken over as the obvious choice for many new mums.

    The media’s message – or lack of a message – about breastfeeding is compounded by a lack of visibility in the outside world. So if you’re already worried about breastfeeding at home, there’s no way you’re going to do it in public. It’s just not the done thing.

    So what’s the answer?

    In an ideal world, I would love to see more celebrity mothers talking positively about breastfeeding on TV and magazines. If breastfeeding was the norm, perhaps shops and cafes would have welcoming areas for mothers to feed in privacy.

    For now, though, it’s hard to know what POWs can do directly – other than to try and educate pregnant women and new mothers through conversations and leaflets. I know from experience that we can talk to clients about “bonding with the baby” and “giving baby the best possible start” until the cows come home, but until breastfeeding begins to be talked about and normalised everywhere, it’s going to continue to be a struggle.

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