Cheltenham’s MP, Alex Chalk, has warmly welcomed positive news from Gloucestershire NHS Foundation Trust that they will be giving additional midwives specialist training to help with an increasingly common problem: tongue tie. Most babies born with a tongue tie are still able to breastfeed but for some where the tongue tie is more severe, mother and baby may experience problems which present a barrier to breastfeeding. Diagnosis of a tongue tie requires an assessment by a specialist midwife, and can be resolved with a small surgical procedure to cut the tongue tie once diagnosed. In the vast majority of cases where the problem is identified and resolved quickly, mums are able to go on to breastfeed for as long as they choose.
Having been contacted by local constituent Anna Wood, who had started a campaign on social media to improve wait times for treatment, Alex has lobbied for improvements.
Alex said: “Breastfeeding is a personal choice but we must do all we can to support those mothers who want to breastfeed their babies. I have been working with our excellent local NHS maternity services to help improve support still further”.
Gloucestershire NHS Foundation Trust is already one of the leading trusts in the UK when it comes to supporting new mums who experience problems with breastfeeding due to tongue tie. Maternity Services at the Trust have recently been reassessed for reaccreditation for The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative and are awaiting their report. Baby Friendly is designed to support breastfeeding and parent-infant relationships by working with public services to improve care. It is the first ever national intervention to have a positive effect on breastfeeding rates in the UK.
After meeting with Trust representatives in March, Alex and Anna confirmed that the Trust will be training additional midwives to undertake the tongue-tie procedure, known as ‘frenulotomy’. They have also committed to improving post-procedure support through an improved leaflet.
Anna said “I am so pleased that they are going to train more midwives to undertake this procedure. This is really good news. Hopefully this will reduce waiting times as a long wait is stressful for both mother and baby. Any new mum who chooses to breastfeed should be supported as much as possible.”