As part of National Breast Pumping Week, we caught up with Leanne Cruickshanks, our Lead Infant Feeding Midwife, about her three years at our Women’s Hospital, where she reflects on how she became inspired to support mothers and their babies. Leanne is part of a small specialist team that supports feeding complexities outside of a midwife’s sphere of practice. The Infant Feeding Team provide support for pregnant mothers and babies, including those with complex feeding issues during the first few weeks of life.
Leanne said: “We provide antenatal virtual education to parents and their supportive others, including immediate postnatal support, face-to-face and telephone contact for parents while they are in hospital and at home with their babies. We consist of two maternity infant feeding advisors, a specialist midwife for infant feeding, three peer supporters and six infant feeding volunteers who make up equipment packs.”
She was inspired to take on her career in midwifery after,16 years ago, when she received care from the NHS, and is grateful for the support that she received and for the opportunity to now provide specialist care.
“Due to incredible care from support staff, nurses and surgeons - I made an excellent recovery. Back then I made a promise to give back to a Trust that I owe my life to. The care and compassion they gave me can never be repaid but by working here I always feel I am able to uphold my promise and give back to positively help our mothers and babies.”
Leanne’s kind and compassionate nature is what we love to see through our hospital corridors so that we can better empathise with those in need of support and care. Leanne opened up to us about what she loved most about working at our Women’s Hospital.
She said: “Obviously, the mothers, babies and families that I am privileged to support, as they transition to becoming parents - this is the most special part of my job.
“Support is given by our team, each member adding valuable elements, the team and staff are at the heart of my love for the job. It feels like a team and extended family. It's a team that supports and values one another.
“It’s a forward-thinking Trust with an innovative reflective approach to care. The level of skill and experience in all staffing groups is noticeable. I have been a midwife for 20 years and worked in lots of teams but the infant feeding team is a team I am proud to be part of.
“We are all so supportive, share similar visions for positive feeding journeys for families, helping them to have close loving relationships with their babies. We support one another, have different strengths and together - we can deliver specialist care to help those having difficult feeding journeys.”
If you are in need of Infant Feeding support from one of our conscientious and trusted colleagues – you can attend our educational virtual seminars with our Infant Feeding Team in a 2-hour 30-minute session lending the best advice to optimise your breastfeeding journey. Not only does the team explain breastfeeding but they will also discuss hand expression from 36 weeks of your pregnancy and feeling confident to breastfeed in private and in public. You can meet Leanne at one of our Infant Feeding Workshops