The NHS has enlisted a branch of the Mothers’ Union to help make an unusual teaching aid for new mums.
The Somerset mothers were asked to knit 150 woollen breasts, which will be used instead of balloons to teach women how to express milk, and how to deal with problems such as mastitis and blocked ducts.
The breasts, which come in a range of colours, will be used by nurses and community workers across Somerset to help train breastfeeding mothers.
NHS infant feeding specialist Louise Stickland said: “In the past our breastfeeding trainers had to use balloons to demonstrate feeding skills, but when I heard the Mothers’ Union did knitting of clothes for premature babies, I asked if they would be prepared to knit 150 breasts so I could make them available as a training aid to every health visitor, community nurse and nursery nurse involved in supporting new breastfeeding mums.
“To my delight, they agreed and enrolled four of their best knitters, who have done an outstanding job.”
Shirley Dibbs, liaison officer at the Mothers’ Union in Somerset, said: “Members of the Mothers’ Union are always ready to help good causes and we often produce knitted clothes for very small premature babies.
“However, I think this is the first time we have had a request to knit woollen breasts. In fact, at first I misunderstood and thought they needed 150 woollen vests!
“Our members across Somerset were very pleased to help, many are mothers themselves and we all recognise the benefits breastfeeding brings new babies.”