One of the most common issues I have seen with supporting new mums to breastfeed is time. Midwives are already stretched by busy wards and a less than optimum number of staff; that I can only be concerned by how much more time the milk kitchen will require from them. Prior to beginning my training I would have been 100% percent behind the plan to remove formula from hospitals but whilst I am still in support of this happening, I have a more realistic view of the challenge it will pose to the staff.
I am in support because I think it provides a more accurate view of how bottles are prepared and the time that it takes. I also hope that a midwife may be less inclined to encourage "trying" a bottle when it's not as easy to just grab one from the cupboard. Of course, this all falls in line with all midwives being trained in breastfeeding support and how best to support women, which I certainly know is happening in both my placement hospital and my local hospital. I hope with the growth of accurate information being provided, more women will feel supported rather than pushed.
I am however concerned about the women who are post caesarean section, unable yet to get out of bed, possibly even finding it difficult to sit up for themselves. These are the women that already need a lot of support - how does the milk kitchen work for them? I can only assume that there will always be some formula milk in the hospital for the women who go into labour prematurely, or come in without their bags. Will there be milk provided for the women who need a high level of support? Or the women who plan to breastfeed but perhaps change their mind, maybe it just doesn't work out for one reason or another? What will happen then? I guess there are a lot of unanswered questions at the moment.
Is this a cost-saving exercise for the NHS or a move towards a society where breastfeeding is the norm? Can it be both? I am certain that there will be teething problems but I am optimistic that it will work out. I am ever hopeful that the breastfeeding support will increase, the breastfeeding knowledge will increase and women will feel more confident in their abilities.