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New breastfeeding textbook to give support to medical professionals

Professor Amy Brown

A new textbook aimed at supporting the medical profession to give accurate and up-to-date breastfeeding guidance is released.

‘A guide to supporting breastfeeding for the medical profession’  is jointly edited by leading experts in the field of breastfeeding Professor Amy Brown, Director of the centre for Lactation, Infant Feeding and Translation at Swansea University and Dr Wendy Jones, breastfeeding supporter and pharmacist with special interest in the comparability of drugs in breast milk.

It brings together leading researchers, medics and breastfeeding specialists from across the UK to create an up-to-date guide on supporting breastfeeding for those working in hospitals, specialist clinics and general practice.

Professor Amy Brown said: “Medics play a vitally important role in supporting breastfeeding. They might see breastfeeding women in their practice or be part of a team advising on the care of mother or baby. Ensuring they have the most up-to-date knowledge and awareness of both the importance of breast milk to the child and what breastfeeding can mean to women is key, yet medical programmes often have little content focussing on this importance area of nutrition and wellbeing.

“Sadly, too many women fall through the cracks, receiving incorrect medical information that stops them from breastfeeding sooner than they wished when in most cases they could carry on. We hope this book will play an important role in helping increase the UK’s breastfeeding rates, meaning more babies can receive breastmilk for longer and more mothers can stop breastfeeding when they feel ready rather than because of a medical issue.”

Dr Wendy Jones explained “In my role as a pharmacist on the Breastfeeding Networks Drugs in breastmilk service, I regularly receive queries from both mothers and health professionals around whether certain medications or medical procedures are compatible with breastfeeding. The same queries crop up time and time again, suggesting that greater general awareness is needed in particular around transfer of medications into breastmilk and any potential impacts. For the majority of medications and procedures women can continue breastfeeding and this information needs to be more widely known.

“We put together this textbook with busy medics in mind. Each chapter has key messages for practitioners who may have little time to read in depth information or need to know whether a drug is contraindicated quickly. Written by leading experts in the field including GPs, paediatricians, neonatologists, lactation specialists and midwives, this guide will be invaluable in enabling more medics to support more women to continue breastfeeding for longer.”

All royalties from sales of the book are being donated to the Human Milk Foundation, a charity aiming to increase the number of families who can access donor milk when their baby is sick or premature, or when the mother cannot breastfeed for reasons such as cancer treatment or having had a mastectomy. The money will be used for projects such as supporting medics and students in accessing further training and increasing training of breastfeeding counsellors and peer supporters especially from groups currently underrepresented in the field.

A guide to supporting breastfeeding for the medical profession is out now, published by Routledge.

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