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Mums in Lothian call for better access to specialist breast feeding support

There has been a drastic reduction in specialist breastfeeding support in Lothian since December 2017 which has considerably disadvantaged new mothers in Lothian.

Five weekly, half day specialist breastfeeding clinics, located in community settings, staffed by breastfeeding specialist midwives and seeing up to 60 women each week have been closed.

These clinics were a crucial resource where breastfeeding women could be referred or self-refer at any time, the latter on a drop-in basis.

Clearly, in NHS Lothian, they are not doing enough to constitute the ‘Scottish Government’s commitment to ensuring that each child gets the best start in life by promoting, supporting and maintaining breastfeeding in the early days’.

Miles has written to NHS Lothian to ask if more specialist breastfeeding support will be provided in order to fulfil this obligation.

The Pregnancy and Parent Centre Edinburgh said:

“The Pregnancy and Parent Centre Edinburgh warmly welcomes the recent announcement of additional funding  by the Scottish Government for breastfeeding.

“With Scotland having one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world, this is clearly an urgent public health matter for both current and future generations.

“With respect to Lothian, recent cuts to specialist drop-in breastfeeding clinics have led to an increase in calls for help to the Centre as a result of mothers distressed at their inability to access timely advice and support for breastfeeding.

“Extra funding and planning is needed to provide better opportunities for mothers to receive specialist breastfeeding support by providing more community based specialist clinics, to which mothers can self-refer.  

“As well as enhanced specialist breastfeeding clinics, social and community support for breastfeeding is also vital, particularly in areas of social deprivation.”

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Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP, said:

“Cuts to breastfeeding services have been made across Lothian under this SNP government.

“I have been working with new mums who want to see the return of walk in specialist breast feeding services, rather than by referral.

“It is very clear to me that the SNP Ministers have not honoured the Scottish Government commitment to every child have a fair start in life by promoting, supporting and maintaining breastfeeding.

“The benefits of breastfeeding for new born babies and their mothers is huge and is not an area where we can cut corners on funding.

“I hope that this additional funding will go towards fully reinstating breast feeding services and I will be pressuring SNP Ministers to ensure that it does.”

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Notes to Editors

*Scottish Government doubles funding for breast feeding support (link).

Miles Briggs