Posts filed under ‘Early parenthood’

Foods Standards Agency reminds parents of advice on making up infant formula

The Agency is reminding parents and childcarers who use powdered infant formula to use hot water to make up a feed. Formula powder isn’t sterile, so occasionally it could contain harmful bacteria, which could make babies ill. Using water that is 70°C, or higher, will kill any harmful bacteria in the powder.

In practice, this means boiling at least 1 litre of water in a kettle and leaving it to cool for no more than half an hour.

Recent research funded by the Agency has confirmed the importance of using hot water to make up powdered formula. But some parents aren’t aware of this advice and may use cold water, or boiled water that has been cooled for longer than half an hour.

Ready-to-feed liquid formula, sold in cartons, doesn’t need to be mixed and is sterile. But it is more expensive to buy than formula powder.

If you are making up powdered infant formula, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much powder and water to use for each bottle. You should also do the following:

Clean and sterilise bottles and teats before you use them.
Use fresh tap water (don’t use water that has been boiled before).
Fill the kettle with at least 1 litre of water.
Boil the water.
Then leave the water to cool for no more than half an hour.
Always put the water in the bottle first, before the powder.

Cool down the milk by holding the bottom half of the bottle under cold running water, with the cap covering the teat. (This is to avoid scalding the baby.)

Test the temperature of the formula milk on the inside of your wrist before giving it to a baby. It should be body temperature, which means it should feel warm.

If there is any made-up formula milk left after a feed, throw it away. You should also throw away any milk that has been at room temperature for more than two hours.

The Government advises mothers to breastfeed exclusively until their babies are six months old and then to continue after introducing solid foods. For more information about feeding babies, talk to your GP or health visitor, or read the advice on our eatwell site.

For information on breastfeeding, call the National Breastfeeding helpline on 0300 100 0212 to speak to the nearest trained volunteer in your area.

View report

Bacteriocidal preparation of powdered infant milk formulae

://www.foodbase.org.uk/results.php?f_category_id=&f_report_id=395

March 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

Improvements to care for sick and premature babies in Wales

 Health Minister Edwina Hart today [Monday, 7 December] accepted the recommendations of an expert group on improvements to care for sick and premature babies in Wales.

The group, led by Dr Jean Matthes, Consultant Neonatologist at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, has produced a plan to improve neonatal services. Priorities include introducing dedicated neonatal transport services, improved information systems, and the establishment of a Neonatal Managed Clinical Network for Wales. The network should be operational in February.

The group’s recommendations outline how the additional £2million a year of Assembly Government funding announced by the Minister for neonatal services will be spent.  Planned improvements include:

Two neonatal transport services, one in south Wales and one in north Wales. The transport services will ensure rapid and safe transport to specialist centres. The services will operate 12 hours a day in the first instance, with planned progress towards a 24-hour service in the future as staff resources are developed. The new service should be operational from spring next year.

Specialist Neonatal services concentrated in three centres in South Wales – Swansea, Cardiff and Newport – and one in North Wales, yet to be determined.

Recruitment to begin for additional Neonatal Consultants and Neonatal Nurses at each centre to deliver the new service.

A single Neonatal Database enabling the standardised collection of data across Wales.

Dr Jean Matthes, Chair of the Expert Group, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the development of the neonatal transport services, database and network.  This will significantly help to improve the services for newborn babies and their families throughout the whole of Wales.”

Dr Huw Jenkins, Consultant Paediatrician at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, added: “This is a very welcome announcement and I am pleased that the hard work of the clinicians and others involved in developing the neonatal standards and service models is coming to fruition.”

January 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

Home birth figures remain static across UK

Across the UK in 2008, 21, 211 (2.7%) of all births (787,032) took place at home, compared with 20,548 (2.68%) in 2007. This shows no rise in the home birth rate.

In England 18,933 women (2.8%) had a home birth, from 665,779 births.

Wales has the highest proportion of women having home births, 1,314 (3.7%) from 35,256 births.

In Scotland, 881 women (1.5%) had a home birth, from 60,366 births. And in Northern Ireland, 83 women (0.3%) had home births from 25,631 births.

In many areas community midwifery services are not being developed to increase access to home births and birth centres, and women are not being given balanced information to make well-informed choices. Low midwifery staffing levels mean home birth is either not being offered, or withdrawn at short notice. Every trust and board should ensure that choice of place of birth is available to all women.

Local administrative areas with highest and lowest home birth rates include:-

   

HIGHEST

 

LOWEST

 
England   South Hamms – 13.6%   Alnwick 0.0%  
Scotland   East Lothian – 5.0%   Eilean Siar – 0.4%  
Wales   Bridgend – 9.5%   Merthyr Tydfil – 1.3%  

New data provided by the Office of National Statistics, The General Register Office for Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Statistics analysed by BirthChoiceUK – available at www.BirthChoiceUK.com/HomeBirthRates.htm

January 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment

Back after the bump: Mums face a challenging return to the workplace

Returning to work after maternity leave is still a hugely daunting and difficult experience for many mothers, according to new survey published today (30 November) by the NCT.

One in three women (39 per cent) said they found going back to work after having a baby ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’, with 31 per cent saying their relationship with their boss had deteriorated since they had become pregnant. Despite a host of legislation and HR policies aimed at successfully welcoming mothers back into the workplace, many say they’re still not receiving the support they need.

The study, which surveyed over 1,500 mothers who have recently gone back to work, also found that one in three (32 per cent) felt their promotion prospects had been reduced since having a baby, while 13 per cent said they have reduced seniority since returning to work.

Currently, employees with caring responsibilities for children aged 16 and under have the statutory right to request to work flexibly, enabling them to adjust their working pattern to suit their needs. The vast majority (88 per cent) of mothers who were surveyed for the NCT’s report wanted to work flexibly on their return to work. However, one in six (16%) of those said their request for flexible working practices had gone nowhere.

Emma, a bank office clerk, found her return to work extremely frustrating: “I told the HR department and also my line manager when I’d be coming back, but still nobody was expecting me when I returned. I’ve also seen the same happen with two other colleagues. It’s a bit disappointing really and makes you feel as if you’re not wanted.”

Renata, a shop floor supervisor, also experienced difficulties, particularly when it came to a request for flexible working:

“Before my maternity leave, I decided that when I returned to work I would work part time. I completed all the necessary paperwork and it was formally confirmed with my manager. However, a week before my return, he informed me that no part-time work was available. It was completely unprofessional; they shouldn’t have made false promises.”

To help guide both mothers and employers through a smooth return to the workplace, the NCT and the charity Working Families have published two free downloadable guides available : click here: www.nct.org.uk/returningtowork

or www.workingfamilies.org.uk.

Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families, says: “Returning to work when you have a new baby can be very difficult for the new mother and her manager. But the good news is that problems can be avoided by good communications and good planning together. These new guides take mother and manager step by step from early pregnancy, through maternity leave and a successful return to work”

Top tips on maternity leave for mums:

– Prepare a handover plan – discuss with your boss the options for handing over responsibilities and when it is appropriate to do this
– Remember, you are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave, regardless of length of service or the number of hours you work
– Keep a record of everything and try to get agreements in writing
– Start thinking about your return to work early on
– Anything can be flexible working – it doesn’t have to be a reduction in hours, it could be home working, compressed hours, job sharing or term time only working

Notes:

The online survey was completed by 1,541 mothers from 1 September – 31 November 2008.

The experiences of women returning to work after maternity leave in the UK – This report seeks to understand experiences of mothers returning to work after maternity leave in the UK

December 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Doulas – a help for mums

Commenting on BMJ.com, a doctor today says that the presence of doulas during labour may alter the doctor-patient dynamic and can compromise communication and therefore patient care.

Furthermore, the need for doulas implies a failing of medical and midwifery services and also the support provided by family and friends, says Dr Abhijoy Chakladar who was working at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex when he first encountered a doula.

Background

There are two types of doula – birth and postnatal – and some cover both areas. A birth doula is there to offer physical and emotional support to you (and your partner) during labour and for your birth. They don’t do anything medical but are a continuous, reassuring presence.

Most (but not all) doulas are mothers themselves and may or may not have done additional training. Those recognised by Doula UK will have completed an approved training course and will have de-briefed and reflected on what birth means for them. A birth doula will usually cost between £200 and £600. Postnatal doulas are there to support you at home after the birth – ‘mothering the mother’ so you can mother your baby.

December 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm Leave a comment

Home birth figures remain static across UK

Across the UK in 2008, 21, 211 (2.7%) of all births (787,032) took place at home, compared with 20,548 (2.68%) in 2007. This shows no rise in the home birth rate.

In England 18,933 women (2.8%) had a home birth, from 665,779 births.

Wales has the highest proportion of women having home births, 1,314 (3.7%) from 35,256 births.

In Scotland, 881 women (1.5%) had a home birth, from 60,366 births. And in Northern Ireland, 83 women (0.3%) had home births from 25,631 births.

Local administrative areas with highest and lowest home birth rates include:-

HIGHEST

LOWEST

England South Hamms – 13.6% Alnwick 0.0%
Scotland East Lothian – 5.0% Eilean Siar – 0.4%
Wales Bridgend – 9.5% Merthyr Tydfil – 1.3%

New data provided by the Office of National Statistics, The General Register Office for Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Statistics analysed by BirthChoiceUK – available at www.BirthChoiceUK.com/HomeBirthRates.htm

NCT members have contacted us to share their experiences of home birth. Please see below for some case studies.

Case Studies:

Rosie Evans, Rugby: “After giving birth to a stillborn girl, followed by a miscarriage, we were very anxious for the birthing experience to be special. We chose to have a home birth because I knew that in a hospital environment I would not feel able to birth, because for birth you need relaxation and for relaxation I need privacy and control.

The home birth was very positive. Everyone who meets our daughter comments how calm and contented she is. I have no doubt that this, my effective contractions and short labour were all down to the fact that she was born in water and at home.”

Helen O’Donnel, Worcester: Helen gave birth in a water bath at home with her mother, husband and two community midwives present. It was a very positive experience.

Charlene Lucas, Twickenham: “I chose to have a home birth and informed my midwife (at the GP surgery) at 20 weeks. She was supportive, but said she could not guarantee me a home birth. Someone would bring round my home birth kit at 37 weeks, bit I would only find out whether someone could attend my birth at home when I went into labour, otherwise I would need to go into hospital.

As it turned out, I was recommended to go into hospital as the baby was breech and the birth went well. However, it was not my first choice and had I been able to proceed with the home birth I would not have known where I would labour until the day it happened and had no idea who will be attending which is far from ideal!”

Suzanne Borrell, Brighton and Hove: “I attempted a home birth in August 2005 but ended up in an emergency c section situation. Midwives were very positive but on the day the midwife who was attending me left at 11pm after a brief visit ‘saying – I’m off home to get some sleep and I suggest you do the same’. Although it was early on in my labour I was in a lot of pain as my baby was posterior. I really could have used her support as well gas and air as the pain became almost unbearable as the hours passed.

I had a birthing pool but was nervous about using it without a midwife present. Next morning a lovely midwife then came with gas and air but I was by then exhausted by the pain. I was taken by ambulance at 5pm to Royal Sussex as labour was not progressing and had a c section at 11pm.

After having a very positive second birth in a birthing pool, I now know that the outcome would have been different if I had received more care earlier on as much of the pain came through stress and fear.”

Full list of statistics can be viewed at http://www.BirthChoiceUK.com/HomeBirthRates.htm

December 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm 1 comment

Midwives comment on Conservative maternity plans

Commenting on the Conservative maternity plans announced today (Thursday, 26th November 2009) at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) conference, Cathy Warwick, RCM, general secretary, said:

“In some respects the Conservative plans  reflect a general consensus on the actions we need to take if we are to provide world class maternity services. The commitment to more midwives is positive and significant, as is the promise of more locally based services, but of course both will need to be funded.

“The focus on better antenatal and postnatal care is a promising step. These are the parts of the services to pregnant women that are often lacking and suffer when financial problems bite. However, I would like to see what the Conservatives mean by ‘providers’ of these services. Are they referring to a greater role for the private sector? The RCM has serious concerns about the risk that privatisation of maternity care will lead to the fragmentation of care for women.

“I would want to see more detail on the commitment on funding for maternity services. At the very, very least we would want to see funding matching the ever increasing demands on the service.

It is now generally accepted that the method we have of paying for maternity services does not support implementation of policy. The RCM would like to see a review of the funding structure to incentivise normal births and which recognises those services that can demonstrate high levels of maternal satisfaction.

“The Conservatives are putting forward a number of interesting proposals, but good words and good intent are one thing, and real and positive action is another. We want promises made to become promises delivered and the improvements we have seen so far in maternity services continuing.”

December 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

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