New technology supports new mums to breastfeed

Public Health England’s Start4Life and Amazon Alexa helping mothers to breastfeed for longer | Public Health England

Almost three-quarters of women start breastfeeding when their child is born, however by 6 to 8 weeks this drops to just 44%. This makes breastfeeding rates in England among the lowest in the world.


Evidence shows the right support helps mothers to breastfeed for longer. A recent survey found that almost two thirds (64%) felt that access to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week breastfeeding support, such as a phoneline, website or chatbot, would make new mothers:

  • more likely to have a positive experience of breastfeeding
  • more likely to decide to try breastfeeding (59%)
  • breastfeed for longer (58%)

PHE’s programme Start4Life has created the Breastfeeding Friend to encourage parents to adopt healthy behaviours. It is available for free on a range of platforms, including Facebook Messenger, and now for the first time it will also be available as a skill for Amazon Alexa’s voice service.

Mothers can ask Alexa a variety of questions about breastfeeding and the answers will be provided tailored to the age of the baby. This means that they can get helpful advice even when their hands are full.

Full details at Public Health England



Maternity services survey 2017

Maternity services survey 2017 |  The Care Quality Commission


This survey looked at the experiences of women receiving maternity services. The results show that overall women are reporting a more positive experience of maternity care and treatment. The publication highlights improvements in areas such as choice of where to give birth, quality of information and access to help and support after giving birth, when compared to the results from previous years’ surveys.

Compared with the last survey in 2015 a greater proportion of women said that they:

  • were offered the choice of giving birth in a midwife-led unit or birth centre
  • saw the same midwife at every antenatal appointment
  • were ‘always’ treated with dignity and respect during labour and birth
  • were never left alone during the birth of their baby at a time when it worried them
  • could ‘always’ get help from a member of staff within a reasonable time while in hospital after the birth

For more information, please see the statistical release, which provides the results for all questions: Maternity services survey 2017: Statistical release

Ultrasound for children with broken arms: Accurate, faster, less painful than X-rays

Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) assessment of distal forearm injuries in children is accurate, timely, and associated with low levels of pain and high caregiver satisfaction | ScienceDaily


There are many goals when managing children with suspected fractures of the arm. These include being fast and accurate in the diagnosis, not causing more pain and limiting exposure to radiation. Achieving these goals can result in high rates of caregiver satisfaction. Dr. Poonai’s study suggests that POCUS may be a viable alternative to x-ray with respect to diagnostic accuracy, cost effectiveness, pain, caregiver satisfaction, and procedure duration.

Read the full overview via ScienceDaily here

The original research article is available here

Using Technology to Reduce Childrens’ Anxiety Throughout the Perioperative Period

Goldschmidt, K. & Woolley, A. Journal of Pediatric Nursing | Published online: 27 April 2017


In the U.S. each year, approximately 5 million children undergo a surgical procedure (Perry, Hooper, & Masiongale, 2012). Surgery is one of the most stressful medical procedures that a child can experience. In fact, approximately 50% of children are reported to experience significant anxiety in the preoperative period (Perry et al., 2012). Pediatric nurses know the importance of incorporating parents into the child’s plan of care and understand that the child is comforted by the presence of someone that they know and love.

Read the abstract here

Children should be more involved in healthcare decisions that affect them

Research at hospitals in Ireland revealed that children find it difficult to have their views heard | Imelda Coyne for The Conversation


The children said that doctors and nurses were “nice” and “kind”, but some tended to carry out medical procedures without seeking their opinions or telling them beforehand. Some parents helped children to be included in talks about their care, but other parents answered questions on their behalf, told them to stay quiet and withheld information from them. Some parents also told their child to stay quiet and not annoy the doctor or nurse. Being excluded from discussions made some children feel sad, frustrated and angry. As one 14-year-old girl put it: “It made me feel like a piece of machinery; they weren’t actually talking to me.”

Read the full blog post here

Women’s experiences of maternity services

“Only 55% of women who made a decision about their birthplace achieved their choice” | The Women’s Institute

Image source: The WI

This report presents the findings of the NFWI’s and NCT’s second survey of women’s experiences of maternity care, providing insights into key aspects of the experiences of 2,500 women who gave birth in England or Wales in 2014, 2015, and the first half of 2016. Since the publication of our last maternity services report in 2013, the maternity policy landscape has changed significantly. Most notably, the National Maternity Review report – Better Births – has recommended significant changes to how maternity services are organised.

Read the full overview here

Read the full report here

Experience of Primary Care Services Among Early Adolescents and Association With Health Outcomes

Yassaee, A.A. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published online: 2 December 2016


Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate adolescents’ (11–15 years) experience of their general practitioner (GP), whether poor reported GP experience was associated with worse physical and mental health measures and whether poor previous GP experience was linked to lower utilization of these services.

Conclusions: Nearly half of this large, national study of adolescents did not feel able to discuss personal matters with their doctor. There was a consistent, strong association between reported lack of good GP experience and poor health measures.

Read the full abstract here