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  • collettec 11:03 am on 6th June 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Babies sleep in cardboard boxes 

    In Finland all expectant mom’s are given a starter pack which consists of clothes, sheets and toys. This tradition dates back to the 1930s and it was intended to give all babies the same start in life. The UK could take on this tradition to ensure that all babies born here have the same start too. To read the full article follow the linkhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22751415

  • collettec 3:42 pm on 15th April 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Rationing of infant formula 

    After last weeks announcement from supermarkets that it will be limiting the amount of baby milk to 2 cartons per customer, lots of stories were ciculated. Which may have caused people to panic buy or worry about what to feed their babies if they run out. Many of our clients cannot afford to buy extra baby milk so will usually run out before they buy more. Hearing about supermarkets limiting sales may put women off buying formula and may be prepared to try Breastfeeding, however, if there was more information on formula feeding for parents to access they could compare the benefits of Breastfeeding and make the right decision for themselves. This doesn’t help when aggressive advertising in the media from the 2 leading Breast milk substitute manufacturers Nestle and Danone causes panic buying of infant formula.

    For example, according to (Baby Milk Action 2013).
    This marketing war has now reached the UK following Nestlé’s takeover of Pfizer Nutrition/Wyeth in 2012, manufacture of the SMA brand. Both Danone and Nestlé have launched new strategies to promote their products – the former gaining media coverage by claiming individuals in the UK are buying up formula to send to China thus causing a shortage in the UK, the latter taking advantage of any formula panic buying by putting its follow-on formula on prominent price promotion to increase sales.

    Are milk companies creating this type of panic to increase its sales. Headlines last week on BBC website were;

    “Baby milk rationed in UK over China export fear”
    (BBC news online 8th April 2013 Last updated at 19:20)

    Nestle have denied any evidence of bulk buying for export (Baby Milk Action 2013)

    “We have confirmed that there are sufficient stocks of infant formula for the UK and parents should continue to buy formula milk as usual.”
    The Department of 13th April 2013

    Some of the women we work with may not even be aware of this in the news as many do not have access to the internet so therefore may not really affect them.

    For more information follow the link below

    Danone v. Nestle formula marketing war reaches the UK

  • collettec 10:24 am on 8th April 2013 Permalink | Reply

    Pows work with many pregnant women that experience some kind of discrimination at work, but with the right information these women are able to inform their employers of their rights and Pows support with this by either liaising with employers or by making these women aware of their rights at work. A recent article about “Maternity discrimination on the rise” details how the Fawcett Society states that how in times of Austerity this discrimination will increase. To read the Article follow the link
    Maternity discrimination on the rise

  • collettec 2:58 pm on 3rd April 2013 Permalink | Reply

    Changes to Welfare Provision 

    I have been supporting a client to maintain her first property as she was in need of items of furniture she decided to apply for a Community Care Grant  I advised her to send it back ASAP.  However, because the clients partner said that they probably wouldnt get it because they were cutting it she did not send it off,  she has now missed the deadline.  This is because new Welfare Provision which began on 1st of April this year has introduced discretionary funding that will only provide to the very vulnerable who are in short term crisis.  This can either be by providing a pre paid card for Asda Supermarket, Crisis Grant or Community Support Grant.  This will only be available to certain people that fit the criteria and there will not be any forms of cash Grants available. Vulnerable families will also have to demonstrate that they have exhausted all other avenues before any Grant can be given.  This means that those vulnerable families for whatever reason find themselves in a crisis will find it harder to access these schemes due to a lack of information.
    This is why we as Pregnancy Outreach Workers will need to be aware of these changes and of other local organisations that support families in need, more information can be found at

    Birmingham Local Welfare Provision

  • collettec 11:58 am on 6th March 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Spousal Visa 

    Supporting a client who arrived in the UK with her EEA National husband from Gambia in November, proved to be a challenge.
    Not long after arriving her husband began sexually,phisically and financially abusing her. The client was socially isolated with no family or friends I began supporting her on a weekly basis when she disclosed the abuse to me. I advised her of her options and made contact with Women’s Aid refuge helpline.
    When I was going through the referral with the refuge it became apparent that because the client was on a spousal visa the refuge did not know whether she would be able to access public funding.
    We filled in the UKBA (UK Border Agency) form under the Domestic Violence Concession (DDV) which was declined due to her Visa expiring in March 2013. This meant that she had not been given leave to remain.
    This left the client in a state of despair as the refuge would not take her that day, meaning she would have to stay with her abuser.
    After numerous calls to other organisations and agencies no one knew whether she could access public funding therefore would not take her.
    However, after more phonecalls and researching it was agreed that spouses of EEA Nationals could access public funding if the EEA National had worked in the UK.  Therefore, I managed to secure a refuge for my client and she arrived there safe and has now been rehoused and is accessing public funds.

  • collettec 10:54 am on 3rd December 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Good Celebrity role models 

    The singer Pink is quite happy to talk about Breastfeeding her daughter Willow and has spoken about it often in the press. So when her Husband Carey Hart posted a picture on Twitter of his wife feeding their daughter last week I thought it was a good thing.   In my view this is the way forward with regard to encouraging young mums  ‘especially’ to Breastfeed because of  celebrity culture we need more celebritites appearing in the media showing that Breastfeeding is normal. The media tends to show the extreme images of Breastfeeding e.g women feeding their 4 year old in public, which does put people off. Take a look here Pink

  • collettec 10:40 am on 3rd December 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Four born every second 

    The BBC documentary “Why Poverty” looks at women from different countries in the world, and their experience of childbirth.  The programe shows how each country deals with childbirth and infant mortality. 

    Here in the UK we have a very good ante natal service and  although we do have issues within the NHS regarding tackling infant mortality, this shows how good the NHS is and the documenary compares some of the extreme conditions women in other countries face, for example, Sierra Leone has a high Infant Mortality rate,and  shows a pregnant lady travelling for days to get to a medical centre only to lose her baby and die herself. Watch the video here
    Why Poverty

  • 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.

  • collettec 1:14 pm on 22nd October 2012 Permalink | Reply

    Supporting women to Breastfeed 

    The cost to the Health service could be reduced and a new report indicates that by increasing Breastfeeding rates in the UK could provide a return in a few years even a year. This is because of the protective effect Breastfeeding has, the report showed evidence suggesting that five illnesses; Breast cancer in the mother, gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, middle ear infections and necrotising enterocolitis in the baby.

    The report shows that even a moderate increase in Breastfeeding would reduce costs to the NHS. Part of the Pregnancy Outreach Support role is to give information and support around Breastfeeding. Many of the clients we see that want to Breastfeed always give up in the early days or before they leave the hospital.

    Due to the lack of support when they most need it due to having to ask for support, feeling a nuicance and being embarrassed.

    Although we do see these clients in the early days and can support with these issues if they want but, many, after having their baby just want to spend this precious time with them and their families.

    Only when our clients are socially isolated or have no family or friends do we support in hospital and the client has to want this support. This is when we can really make an impact, however, there needs to be a designated Breastfeeding support worker on wards not on certain days not on call but every day and during the night.

    Only when the women have established Breastfeeding and are happy with support and it continues immediately after will these women continue to Breastfeed. Hopefully this report will enable investment in effective services to increase and sustain Breastfeeding rates.

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