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One of the most effective ways to improve children’s health is to support new mothers to breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding has lifelong health benefits for babies, protecting them from infections such as gastroenteritis and reducing the risk of diabetes, respiratory disease, hypertension and obesity later in life.

However, breastfeeding rates in the UK are among the lowest in Europe, especially in deprived regions. In our experience, many new mums would like to breastfeed, but find it is not easy or comfortable, and they may not receive support from their community.

At Liverpool Women’s Hospital, 4,500 mothers a year give birth in the maternity wards and are shown how to care for their new baby. Breastfeeding positioning dolls are used to demonstrate how to position a baby at the breast. Using this teaching method gives encouragement to new mums who may be reluctant or unsure how to breastfeed, and brings their baby all the benefits of breast milk.

The team at Liverpool needs more of these dolls to cope with the current demand for training new mums, but with budgets stretched to their limits, there is no funding available for them. The positioning dolls cost £21.99 each and we would like to provide 18 dolls for the hospital at a total cost of £395.82.

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“This donation has enabled us to use more varied and useful therapeutic toys and games when working with children and young people with mental health difficulties, as well as using extra clinic rooms which are now more child-friendly. This has helped reduced anxiety about coming to CAMHS and meant that family therapy can be done. Both parents of a 10 year old boy can now attend with their 5 year old as the youngest child can play with our new resources in the waiting room or clinic space. The 10 year old benefited from therapeutic games about thoughts/feelings and we were also able to observe imaginative play for assessment.”

Dr Eleanor Oswald
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Vale of Leven Hospital

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