Breastfeeding support should free

Is it really free? Should it be?

It’s a common idea, anything that is essential in life, would be available free if it was needed.

Is there a need?

As a breastfeeding supporter, I see this applied to my specialism constantly. The need does not seem to be there with the uk having one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. But when 74% of parents initiate breastfeeding in the UK, you have to wonder, what got in their way of reaching their feeding goals?

We need to change the conversation around breastfeeding; it is time to stop laying the blame for the UK’s low breastfeeding rates in the laps of individual women and instead acknowledge that this is a public health imperative for which government, policy makers, communities and families all share responsibility.

Unicef – a call to action

Decent from within

It’s not just the general public who are opposed to the idea of parents paying for support in anyway.

It is not uncommon to see a seasoned health professional speaking against other professionals, being vehemently opposed to a private IBCLC charging parents for support.

Yet when you look at the pre registration training of health care professionals in the UK, an IBCLC is the ONLY one to have the full set of desirable topics in their training in this report.

This is where I feel all opponents are all missing the point and hurting truly innovative & caring souls.

Free at the point of care

In this western, modern world, the only truly free things, are given by loved ones. There rest of the things that seem free, have a price, even if you don’t notice you are paying it.

This what has come of the dream of the NHS 70 years ago, many services are, are the point a person access it, free.

But that is not the full picture. How is it funded? By the Government you think, yes and where do they get the money? From Tax payers. Not free then.

And how about the staff delivering the support? They are paid to be there, by whome? We follow the money back to the tax payer.

Do it yourself

We are used to idea of DIY, a video on how to do anything online and try to fix it your self tasks. Sometimes they go well and at best the efforts are a waste of time and money but at worst, goals are not met and people get hurt.

When we have a problem with our plumbing, or our car, we are all quite comfortable handing money over to a specialist who can help, as we readily recognize their skill, that we do not share.

So why is breastfeeding support any different?

If you are thinking now about the people who cannot afford it, the inequities in health care and the undeserved communities, I hear you. This is a problem for us ALL and not solved by lambasting a private specialist alone.

I have yet to meet one who has turned their back on a family in need when they cannot afford their service. I know first hand, the amount of free support, or effort to refer on breastfeeding supporters take.

Many of the supporters I know are innovating, educating and leading change. Do you want to work against these people? or with them

Funding

So maybe a way forward, is to group together, campaign for more funding and then share it.

Parents get the free support they deserve, and breastfeeding specialists get the salary and recognition they deserve.

Further Reading

Break down of home visit costs
What is an IBCLC
Hospital Infant Feeding Network
WBTi – UK report Card

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