Local mum inspired to help other women breastfeed their babies – North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

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“I don’t want any new mum who is struggling to breastfeed to feel like a failure” – that’s driving force behind one local woman’s career move from customer services to midwifery assistant.

After giving birth two and half years ago, Sophie Simpson struggled to breastfeed her baby boy Arlo. Refusing to give up, Sophie asked her North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust maternity team for help with breastfeeding. A short but intensive period of advice and training followed, resulting in the new mum being able to feed her new arrival.

Sophie subsequently left her job with a bank and joined the health trust as a midwifery assistant after being inspired by the care provided by the maternity team.

Sophie Simpson, midwifery assistant

Sophie, 30, from Stockton-on-Tees, said: “I had Arlo at home and I just thought breastfeeding would come naturally, but it didn’t. I couldn’t get him to latch on or if he did, it was very painful for me.

“The midwifery team arranged for me to spend a couple of days at hospital where they gave me so much advice and support that I was able to properly feed Arlo.

“After that, I went to my local midwifery community hub which was a huge help, as were the regular visits from my own midwife to make sure I was still managing to feed Arlo.”

The experience led Sophie, who already held a foundation degree in health and social care, to apply to work for the very team which had supported her so well. She commented: “My mum found the job specification online. It was everything I wanted and I met every criteria. I’ve been here for ten months now and I just love it. I even worked with my own community midwife for a while which was lovely.

“The best part of my job is helping a new family transition into parenthood. It’s just so rewarding, but I don’t want any new mum who is struggling to breastfeed to feel like a failure. We’re always here to help.”

As part of National Breast Feeding Week (Monday 27 June – Sunday 3 July), Sophie and the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust maternity teams are hosting special displays and offering regular ‘top tips’ for breast feeding on the Trust’s social media accounts.

idwifery assistants Vicky Zapalski and Sophie Simpson with their breast feeding week display

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust operates regular breastfeeding support groups in the community and offers specialist, tailored help for all new mums under their care.

Top tips for breast feeding:
• Breast milk is a living substance that contains live cells, including stem cells, which go on to become other body cell types like brain, heart, kidney, or bone tissue.
• Breast milk contains antibodies and live white blood cells that help your baby fight against infection. And, if you or your baby are ill, the amount of these cells in your breast milk increases.
• Breastfeeding can be convenient – it’s ready made to the right temperature, in the right portions wherever and whenever your baby needs it…and its free!
• You can’t give your baby too much breastmilk. All breastmilk is amazing for your baby, by feeding responsively you can ensure your baby is getting the right amount for them.
• Your baby doesn’t need formula before your milk comes in. Your body produces colostrum which is a concentrated thicker type of milk that’s packed full of antibodies and antioxidants.
• The law states you can breastfeed in public anywhere, including restaurants and parks.

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