The GP Infant Feeding Champion

By Dr Clare Aitchison, General Practitioner

Dr Aitchison has recently worked with her local Public Health department to develop a scheme to engage local GP ‘Champions’ to support infant feeding and breastfeeding patients.

Please contact GPIFN if you are a GP interested in developing a similar scheme.

Congratulations to the Norwich GP Breastfeeding Champions!

Norwich CCG & Healthy Norwich: Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme This scheme aims to support all health colleagues working in Norwich GP surgeries, to provide breastfeeding mothers and their families with helpful advice and guidance to enable them to maintain breastfeeding for as long as they wish to do so.  Surgeries can sign up to nominate a GP Champion, who will receive further training and be offered peer support through GPIFN.

I am a GP, but in my other role as a peer supporter, I became a little involved with the local hospital’s campaign to become Baby Friendly. I started to think – why don’t we try to make GP Surgeries baby friendly?

Sadly breastfeeding is often not considered to be a GP’s problem, and teaching and training on the subject at medical school and throughout training is very limited. However we do see so many mother and baby dyads, often with problems directly related to breastfeeding but also with other issues such as medication where breastfeeding is an important consideration. Too many times I had heard patients complain that their doctors had simply told them to stop breastfeeding, often inappropriately, and I thought there was a real need for GP education.

My hope is that in each Surgery we can develop a role for a nominated GP with a specialist interest in breastfeeding. This GP will have completed the Unicef/RCGP module on breastfeeding, and will have up to date knowledge of the LactMed database and the Breastfeeding Network’s Drugs in Breastmilk Factsheets and Helpline. Ideally they would also have knowledge on good positioning and attachment and be able to identify restrictive lingual frenulum. This can be an asset to the Surgery, and the CQC in the past have commented that having a specialist interest in breastfeeding is an outstanding area in Surgeries that have done so.

Dr C Aitchison, General Practitioner

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich GPs become breastfeeding champions to support city mothers and babies Local news coverage of the Breastfeeding Friendly GP Scheme in Norwich.

Excerpt from Dr Aitchison’s Practice CQC Report 2016

Published April 2017, Updated 30th September 2019