Breastfeeding for Public Health : A Resource for Community Healthcare Professionals book cover
1st Edition

Breastfeeding for Public Health
A Resource for Community Healthcare Professionals

ISBN 9780367689568
Published April 11, 2022 by Routledge
190 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Health visitors play a crucial role in supporting mothers who choose to breastfeed and their families. This accessible text enables readers to practise confidently in this vital area, focusing on underpinning knowledge and parent-centred counselling skills, and understanding cultural contexts.

Breastfeeding a child improves the lifelong health of a population, and promoting breastfeeding is an important area of public health practice. Breastfeeding for Public Health incorporates the voices of health visitors, mothers and fathers to give insight into common practical challenges faced and suggestions for overcoming or working around them. Presenting up-to-date research, it explores the practical skills needed by health visitors to support mothers with breastfeeding; how to develop the communication skills and self-awareness necessary to build successful and trusting relationships with women and their families; why breastfeeding is so important for babies' and mothers' health and psychological attachment, closeness and long-term mental health; what we know about the content of breastmilk and the positive effect it has on the baby’s gut microbiome, which in turn benefits the infant’s long-term health and helps to protect against non-communicable diseases; the role of the father and grandparents in successfully initiating and sustaining breastfeeding; and how cultural awareness and sensitivity can influence practice for the better.

Written by an experienced volunteer and practitioner with decades of experience as a health visitor and breastfeeding counsellor, this text is ideal for students taking Specialist Community and Public Health Nursing courses. It is also an important reference for practising health visitors.

Table of Contents

1.Introduction.  2.Why does breastfeeding matter to babies, mothers, and society?  3.Why is formula feeding considered ‘normal’ in the UK?  4.Communication skills, emotional support and motivational interviewing.  5.The practical skills which should help community practitioners to support parents with breastfeeding.  6.Some breastfeeding challenges.  7.Does breastfeeding improve parental and infant mental health?  8.Health visitors just weigh babies.  9.Special situations, when breastfeeding might be more difficult.  10.Can anthropology give us insights into the way society views breastfeeding?  11.Cultural Influences on breastfeeding in the UK.  12.Community practitioners can normalise breastfeeding

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Alison Spiro has worked as a health visitor and an NCT breastfeeding counsellor, recently acting as a specialist health visitor and infant feeding lead in two NHS trusts, taking them both to become Baby Friendly accredited by UNICEF. She did a doctorate in social anthropology and studied breastfeeding in Indian families in London and India. Recognised as a Queen’s Nurse in 2014, she is now a professional advisor for Best Beginnings and the Institute of Health Visiting, and a volunteer in breastfeeding support groups and training peer supporters.