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Editor,—I was offended by David’s observation1 that many health professionals are “no more equipped to breast feed than they are to give practical advice on the subject” and that the middle class solution would be to “close the door to the health visitor” and call in someone more appropriate.
Health visitors are skilled practitioners and, apart from during the initial 10 day period when midwives are still involved, do more work with new mothers to promote breast feeding than any other health professional, and are aware of the benefits of breast feeding to the infant as well as the mother. However, in the postnatal period it is important that health visitors establish a long lasting professional relationship with the mother. We lose their favour, trust, and respect forever if they think that we are forcing them to make decisions or to continue breast feeding when they are desperate to stop.
Contrary to David’s opinion, health visitors are not ill equipped to offer breast feeding advice. However, we work with the mother to help her adopt the type …
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