Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Using Real Nappies

The title of this blog entry is a little misleading because you might have thought that I was about to tell you all about using them. Sadly it isn't because as much as I thought about it before I had Evan I just never built up enough confidence to give them a go. Sadly I met the lovely Johanna who is going to be heading up the Bexley Real Nappy Network when I was already months into using disposables and with my pressures of running Tums 2 Mums and having a tiny baby I couldn't get my head round making the switch.

My biggest concern was would I be able to keep on top of the washing of them and more importantly the drying of them but chatting with Johanna I found that nappies have come a very, very long way and that some of the brands in particular dry incredibly quickly. My other concern was would I be able to deal with having to wash poopy nappies but another chat with Johanna made me realise that most of it just gets dropped down the toilet. To be honest Evan was so long and skinny that she was always squirting out of her nappies and virtually every day I was having to scrub poop out of her clothes so I didn't escape.

So there you are that is my confession, I wish I had made the switch but I didn't so instead I'm hoping to help at least mums and mums-to-be in reach of Bexley to find out more by attending the event detailed below. If you are not near Bexley though check out your local area because there will be someone, somewhere willing and able to help you find out more.


Bexley Real Nappy Network (BRNN)

During Real Nappy Week (26th April – 2nd May) The London Borough of Bexley will be launching Bexley Real Nappy Network.

We would like to invite you to attend the launch of Bexley Real Nappy Network.

Bexley Real Nappy Network (BRRN) will launch on:

Wednesday 28th April 10.30am – 1.30pm at Danson Children’s Centre, Brampton Road.

There will be fun nappy events, stalls and tea and cakes.

The aim of the Bexley Real Nappy Network (BRNN) is to promote real nappies and provide support for parents using cloth nappies. We hope this network will give parents a chance to gain practical tips on how to use cloth nappies and share their experience of using different types of cloth nappies. BRNN will also offer a nappy library and second hand nappy exchange. As a member of BRNN you will receive a quarterly newsletter with nappy information and advice.

The BRRN launch will provide you with an opportunity to sign up to the network – there is no cost.

During real nappy week we will also be promoting Real Nappies for London’s voucher scheme by running stalls in the Broadway.

The Mall, in the Broadway Shopping Centre, Bexleyheath:

Monday 26 April 10.30am – 1.30pm

Tuesday 27 April 10.30am – 1.30pm

If you would like more information please contact:

Helen Barclay / Maria Migdal 020 8303 7777 option 1.

Bexley Real Nappy Network:


I will be there with a little Tums 2 Mums stall so if you do attend please come and say hello :-)

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Friday, 19 March 2010

Suspension of home birth and specialist midwifery services in E Sussex

This is a message that was sent to me by Louise Wilby, Independent Midwives UK that I believe is worth sharing for any of my readers based in this area considering a Home Birth.


Dear All

Excuse the length of this message but the AIMS info is very helpful in telling us what we can do and how to do it.... please pass it on to all those interested in protecting normal birth ( I also have it as a word document if that is useful)

Very best wishes




Home birth – withdrawal of services

The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services has been informed that the East Sussex Health Trust has unilaterally decided to revoke the home birth and specialist midwifery service.

This, apparently, is due to ‘staffing levels’ and the Trust has also revoked the ‘specialist midwife roles’ who are required to be ‘put back into the mainstream units’.

In 2000 the Nursing and Midwifery Council issued a statement about home births in which it


‘It is for the individual trust/health board to decide what type of maternity service it will provide. The service is expected to be one which is responsible to local requirements and, as far as home births are concerned, it is understood that a blanket policy of ‘no home births’ would not be acceptable to the maternity services in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.’

It further states:

‘While the employed midwife has a contractual duty to her employer, she also has a professional duty to provide midwifery care for women and would not wish to leave a woman in labour at home unattended, thus placing her at risk at a time when competent midwifery care is essential.’

Many Trusts have had staffing problems for a long time and have done little or nothing to resolve it. The Chief Executive, therefore, should be asked to produce the following information:

  • How many Full-time (FTE) equivalent midwives are required?
  • How many FTE’s are in post?
  • How many FTE vacancies are there?

The figures are required for each year from 2005 to 2010.

It is presumed that the Trust’s action has been caused by a midwifery shortage in the hospital. The solution, therefore, is to take steps to recruit more hospital midwives. It is unacceptable to put low risk women who have booked a home birth at additional risk of delivery in large, centralised, obstetric units.

The WHO has stated that there is no health improvement for either mother or baby when the caesarean section rates exceed 10%-15%. In the East Sussex area the caesarean section rates fluctuate from 21.8% to 27.7% more than double the recommended level. Numerous studies have shown that home birth is as safe as hospital birth for selected women. AIMS would argue that home birth is far safer than hospital deliveries as no studies have taken into account depression, infection, breastfeeding or post traumatic stress or the high levels of medical interventions and unnecessary or avoidable caesarean sections. (Young et al 2000; Chamberlain et al, 1997; Northern Region Perinatal Mortality Group, 1996); Weigers et al,1996; Ackermann-Liebrich et al, 1996).

It is unacceptable when faced with staffing problems in an obstetric unit to disband the home birth service, and deprive needy women of the specialist midwifery care that was established to help them. The problems with staffing need to be addressed seriously, and this will only be achieved when a community midwifery service is established by a Primary Care Trust, so that community midwives can focus of supporting normal birth and not be seen as stop-gap measure to be used when the Acute Units have staffing problems.

Any woman who is told that the home birth service has been suspended should write immediately to the Chief Executive, Darren Grayson, at East Sussex Health Trust, 729 The Ridge, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN37 7PT along the following lines:



I have been informed that you have a shortage of midwives and that the home birth service has been withdrawn, so that I shall, therefore, have to come into hospital. I understand that it is Government policy that the NHS should support women who intend to birth at home. In a House of Commons debate (20 Dec, 2000) Lord Hunt of King's Heath stated: 'The Government want (sic) to ensure that, where it is clinically appropriate, if a woman wishes to have a home birth she should receive the appropriate support from the health service. At the end of the day, it must be the woman's choice'. This statement has received further support in the Government’s current document ‘Maternity Matters’.

Your midwives have been aware of my intention to give birth at home since ...(insert date). I have no intention of taking the additional risk of a hospital birth in order to alleviate your staff shortages, although I am prepared to transfer to hospital should a medical complication arise. I suggest that, if your hospital is short of midwives, you contact the Independent Midwives UK and arrange an extra-contractual referral.

I expect a midwife to attend when I call her in labour. Should a midwife not arrive and any untoward event occur that is related to your failure to respond to my needs and those of my baby, my family will take appropriate action and we shall hold you and the Director of Midwifery personally responsible for this failure and contact the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

It is important that as many people as possible are alerted to this so we suggest that you also write to the following and ask them to take action to ensure that a proper community midwifery service is provided for all women:

Your MP, you can find his address on:;

  • The Chair, Maternity Services Liaison Committee, c/o your local obstetric unit (every maternity unit should have a MSLC and you can check if your unit has one by ringing the Chief Executive and ask for the name of the Chair of the MSLC).
  • Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP, Secretary of State for Health , Department of Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2NS
  • Christina Mackenzie, Nursing and Midwifery Council, 23 Portland Place, London, W1M 3AF
  • Cathy Warwick, General Secretary, Royal College of Midwives, 15 Mansfield Street, London, W1G 9NH
  • Your local County Councillor can be found on;

If, when you ring for a midwife when you are in labour, you are still told that a midwife cannot attend because they are short staffed, we suggest that you, or your partner, responds as follows:

'What is your name and your status? (Make a note of who it is). 'I have no intention of putting myself or my baby at risk of travelling in labour to the hospital and exposing us to the additional risks of a hospital delivery. If you fail to send a midwife and any untoward event occurs which can be attributed to your failure to provide a midwife you can rest assured that my family will take appropriate action'.

So far, in every case to date that we know of, the Trust has provided a midwife.

It is important that you alert as many people as possible to this problem. Do let AIMS know whether or not you achieved your home birth in the end. Email

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