Laura Rodgers – tells us about her Role of Infant Feeding Coordinator for the Health Visiting Service
I’m Laura Rodgers, one of the 2 Infant Feeding Coordinators for the Health Visiting Service at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust. I cover the North and West of the county and my counterpart, Beth Rengers covers the South and East Cumbria. Our role consists of providing a specialist service to families with more complex infant feeding issues, coordinating the Health Visiting service work towards Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) Accreditation, as well as the development of policies, staff training and strategic work within the service. I have my own little boy who taught me that feeding babies is often not straightforward! This made me want to do what I can to support other families in their infant feeding journey, no matter how they feed their child. Being part of the MVP gives me the opportunity to listen to and act on feedback from families, build relationships with other services and support the excellent work of the local MVP network.
A typical day for me usually starts with picking up email referrals from Health Visitors, Midwives and Child and Family Support Services. A large part of my working week is spent providing telephone and in-person support to families experiencing feeding difficulties. I visit families at home and meet them at infant feeding groups. Common issues I deal with are nipple/breast pain, positioning and attachment, tongue tie, low milk supply or oversupply, allergies, and reflux. We also offer antenatal contacts so families can prepare to get their feeding journey off to the best start. I attend regional National Infant Feeding Network (NIFN) meetings to discuss national/regional infant feeding initiatives and I chair the BFI Champion meetings for Heath Visitors who are passionate about infant feeding and offer support with our work towards BFI accreditation. I meet frequently with our colleagues at the County Council and other agencies to support our joint work. I also work very closely with my IFC counterpart, Beth Rengers.
One of the things I am proudest of since starting my role last year is sourcing funding to train 17 members of staff from Health Visiting, Midwifery and Children’s Nursing from across NCIC to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC). We are currently attending training sessions to give us the skills and knowledge to take the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) exam next spring. The goal is that families will have access to highly specialist infant feeding support no matter where they enter into our services.