Breastfeeding service cut by WRHA
It’s a stressful time for any new mom.
Three-week-old Nash was born at Winnipeg's Women's Hospital at Health Sciences Centre. Mom Lauren Henderson says getting Nash to breastfeed in hospital only added to her anxiety.
"All the time, especially in the beginning, you're always wondering and worrying you know, is he getting enough, is he latching properly, am I doing it right, is he doing it right," said Henderson.
Now a service to help mothers and babies breastfeed is being cut by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. The two lactation consultant positions at Women's Hospital are being eliminated.
The NDP calls the move an attack on women’s health.
"Really egregious and clueless heartless cuts," says NDP critic Nahanni Fontaine.
But the WRHA says this is part of a new model of care. It says two new expert nurses are being hired to train all nurses on the postpartum ward on breastfeeding to better assist newborns and their moms. A statement reads:
"These nurses will work with a clinical nurse specialist and an educator to build upon their existing skills and knowledge to provide this service to patients."
Premier Brian Pallister says once trained, he has faith the nursing staff at HSC can deliver the service.
"It's a skill set that I understand is important for new moms and they'll need assistance and they'll be getting that assistance," said Pallister.
But the Manitoba Nurses Union says its members are often overworked and understaffed and can't always be there to help with breastfeeding.
"Especially if it’s a complex case or there's some difficulties cause sometimes moms do have difficulty breastfeeding and so that's what the lactation consultants are there to do," said MNU President Sandi Mowat.
The health authority says following discharge from hospitals, mothers will still have supports in the community including public health nurses and breastfeeding clinics.