I am aware that most pharmacists do not receive any training on breastfeeding during their undergraduate studies. My own PhD studies showed that most of us gained our knowledge from our own personal experiences. As breastfeeding is acknowledged as a major public health area I have begun to prepare some training material for professionals – starting with my own. This is intended to provide a basic understanding of how pharmacists and their staff can help to support new mothers as part of their everyday working practice. More detailed presentations will follow on drugs in breastmilk. If you find this useful and want to know more please buy a copy of Breastfeeding and Medication
It’s breastfeeding celebration week! Did you know that national guidance recommends that prescribers look at supplementary sources to decide whether medications are compatible with breastfeeding? Use this poster to spread the word #dontsaystoplookitup tiny.cc/dontsaystop
Please spread the posters to all wards, surgeries and pharmacies
I’ve recently had several emails/ Facebook messages that mothers have been advised to pump and dump their breastmilk for a period of time after taking medication in order to minimise / prevent exposure of the baby to the drug. This has often been undertaken when the drug is compatible with breastfeeding and resulted in the unnecessary exposure of the baby to formula milk.
For most drugs taken for more than 3 days the amount in milk is constant across 24 hours. So timing feeds with respect to breastfeeding or dumping of the breastmilk is pointless. The half life of a drug is very important but just one of the factors in determining the compatability with normal breastfeeding. If you want to know more please consider buying “Breastfeeding and Medication”
really proud to be mentioned by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society today
This is the e poster presentation I spoke about at the iHV conference in Manchester yesterday. Why do we treat women who are breastfeeding but need surgery differently to the ones undergoing a c section? Interrupt breastfeeding, no support with pumping, difficulties storing expressed breastmilk, negative comments. If you are infant feeding advisor do you know what happens on the surgical wards at your hospital? Can you do some training?
Hoping to turn this into a paper and publish
Recorded Facebook live for Perinatal Mental Health Partnership this week
I was recently asked for input in a guideline on pain relief for new mothers after birth. I was surprised to see it almost seemed to penalise breastfeeding mothers suggesting that if you are breastfeeding you cant have effective pain relief for more than 3 days even if you have had a c section. With a new grandchild due in June I decided to put together this information. It includes pain relief, laxatives, haemorrhoidal treatment and iron supplements
Most people know that I provide information to mothers and professionals on the use of drugs in breastmilk. The service was recently evaluated by Prof Amy Brown and team. I am staggered and humbled by the results. It seems that the small fishes that I rescue every day are becoming a huge tide of knowledge and empowerment
Certolizumab pegol is anti TNF alpha drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. What makes it different is that it is the first drug I can remember which has been licensed for use in pregnancy and in breastfeeding. This means that the manufacturer in applying for marketing authority has accepted that it is safe. www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/7387/smpc
Recently I have found myself suggesting it to mothers who are at the point of needing methotrexate to control their symptoms and therefore needing to stop breastfeeding.
I have to congratulate the manufacturer UCB Pharma on taking this very positive step and hope others follow suite. Please note I have no links financial or otherwise with them.
AOn Friday March 22nd I had one of the most wonderful, magical days of my life – I was presented with my MBE by Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. I was lucky enough to have all 3 of my amazing daughters and my wonderful husband there to share it with me as they have shared my journey.
Lots of people asked me in the week up to the Investiture if I knew which member of the Royal Family would be performing the ceremony. I didn’t know until about 5 minutes before I entered the Castle when one of the members of staff told me – tears immediately sprang to my eye (why did I use mascara!). This was beyond my wildest dreams as I am a Royalist and have been hoping that this would happen. I knew Prince Charles was abroad and that Prince William had presided over one earlier in the week but wasn’t quite sure. Only 2 Investitures a year are held in Windsor Castle so that in itself was a privilege. We were booked into a hotel literally opposite the Castle and it seemed unreal as I woke up on Friday that in a few hours I would be inside with all the magical pomp and ceremony that Great Britain does so well.
We drank champagne in our room that morning with our 3 wonderful daughters Kerensa, Beth and Tara who had travelled to be with us and with 2 sons in laws as well as Isaac and Elodie (and Tara’s bump!). The other 2 grandchildren were at school.
We joined the queue of people awarded honours and their families to enter the Castle at 9.45 and were directed up through the grounds which I had watched during the wedding of Meghan and Prince Harry. To see the history unravelling before us as we entered through this beautiful building and to see the wonderful art was quite spell binding.
I was directed into a room with other nominees to mingle and drink apple juice. All the staff were so supportive and kind, no doubt used to witnessing the nerves. I met several people from Hampshire and listened to their stories but what struck me was how “ordinary” everyone was, all of us still astonished to have been given the awards. Mine was for services to mothers and babies. We were given clear instructions on the ceremony and how to bow or curtsey as well as address Her Majesty, we filed nervously through rooms to the Waterloo Room where we were to receive our medals.
As I stood there, I tried to take it all in, that I had come to be here seemed truly amazing. I just follow my dreams and do what means the world to me which is help mums and babies continue their breastfeeding relationship when mum needs medication short or long term.
I managed my curtsy and approached the Queen who smiled encouragingly at me and asked about my role. She even laughed at my description of what I do and commented that it must be very interesting. She held out her hand to shake mine and I walked backwards to curtsy again and leave. My moment was over but will be etched in my memory for all time. I even got to say “breastfeeding” to the Queen!
We had professional photographs taken and took others outside which I will share with you
Thank you to everyone who supports what I do, those who signpost, mums who find their way here and professionals too who try so hard to provide information. Mary Broadfoot and Phyll Buchanan who made this all possible initially and who encouraged me. BfN for continuing to support me. Last but very much not least my family who listen support, encourage me and take on my passion too, This has been an amazing journey for me, and I feel humble and proud to have been awarded this decoration. I won’t be stopping the work anytime soon. Wendy