Posted on Wednesday 13 August 2014
A mother breastfeeding her child
Pregnant women will get advice in their own homes about breastfeeding and bonding with their baby thanks to an increase in health visitors at Guy's and St Thomas'. The service is available to first time mothers in Lambeth and Southwark before the 34th week of pregnancy.
A national initiative to increase the number of health visitors means that there are more of these specialist nurses to give women support during this important stage of pregnancy.
Sandra April, nurse manager, says: "We are looking forward to seeing more people during the antenatal period and supporting women as they make the transition from pregnancy to parenthood.
"Mothers are already offered a new-birth visit with a health visitor 10 to 14 days after the birth of their child. But now we are able to visit parents at home to help them prepare before their baby is born.
"Offering advice early in pregnancy helps parents get ready for their big arrival. We provide a range of information about local support groups to help them connect with other new mums at breastfeeding cafés, children’s centres and playgroups.
"We also discuss the importance of building a close relationship with their baby by talking to them even before they are born. This has been shown to get children speaking and having conversations sooner, which really helps when they start school."
More than 6,000 babies are born at St Thomas’ each year and mother and baby are supported by community midwives and health visitors once they leave hospital.