The Maternity Department at University Hospital Galway (UHG) has redesigned its breastfeeding support service to connect with women virtually instead of face-to-face antenatal workshops and drop-in clinics.
Carmel Connolly Clinical Nurse Manager 2, Parent Education Services explains, “Breastfeeding is natural but it is a skill that has to be learned and support is crucial when learning new skills. Many women find it very helpful to attend a breastfeeding support group before giving birth, to talk to other mothers, ask questions and meet breastfeeding experts. We have introduced a breastfeeding webinar to provide that same support and to empower, build confidence, troubleshoot, educate and reduce the social isolation some expectant mothers feel.
“The webinars are free and women can register to take part by going to www.uhgmaternity.com. Our team, which includes Midwives, a Lactation Specialist Midwife and Consultant Neonatologist are available throughout the webinar to provide support and advice and there is also an opportunity for the mums-to-be to ask questions.
“Some of the topics addressed during the breastfeeding webinar include the benefits, techniques and challenges of breastfeeding, questions related to breast pumps and links to community breastfeeding support groups.
“Since August, we have hosted two webinars with a total attendance of 115 women. It has been so encouraging to me to see these women coming together and forming communities during this time of isolation.”
One expectant mother said, “It was wonderful to be able to attend a live interactive antenatal session and have my individual needs addressed during the session.”
Claire Cellarius, Breast Feeding/Lactation Specialist Midwife at UHG said, “To be able to continue to provide support to women around breastfeeding virtually is fantastic. Breastfeeding gives babies the best start for a healthy life and it protects both mum and baby; its health benefits are undisputed and I would encourage all mums-to-be to consider breastfeeding.”