Knitted ‘boobs’ bring a smile and a life-saving lesson

5th Mar 2012

Maternity staff and community midwives from Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Hospitals Trust are appealing to knitters to take on an unusual project that could help local women with breastfeeding.

The multicoloured knitted ‘boobs’ are a key tool in the bags of midwives and infant feeding advisors in hospital and community midwives. Infant feeding advisor, Louise Thompson, explained: “The boobs are a great way of breaking the ice and starting a conversation about breastfeeding and expressing milk. It is almost impossible to demonstrate expressing without one, and that is why the boobs are so important.”

She added: “Hand expressing breast milk is a useful skill for all mums to learn but for babies born sick and pre-term it can be lifesaving. Breast milk offers significant protection from life threatening illnesses and significantly reduces the incidence of retinopathy of pre-maturity which causes sight problems in pre-term infants. The more breast milk a baby receives the fewer complications they will encounter, the sooner they will be discharged home and the less likely they are to be readmitted to the children’s ward. Breast milk carries on some of the work of the amniotic fluid and it is the one thing that mums can do for their baby that no one else can. No medication we give on the Neonatal unit has as many benefits as mother’s milk.”

A pattern is available to anyone who would like to knit a boob or two, any colour is fine and any stuffing acceptable as these are not toys.  The pattern can be downloaded below:

Knitted breast pattern

Alternatively, contact Chris Lewis, infant feeding co-ordinator, at City Hospital on 07527 389 898.

Chris added: “We do need a constant supply of these boobs as we would like all staff who come into contact with women who need feeding advice to have at least one, and of course they do disappear and wear out too, so all donations would be very gratefully accepted.”

The NHS locally is also involved in a number of breast feeding drop-in support groups across the city; information about where and when these are held can be found at  or by calling Health Exchange Local Peer Support on 0121 622 6603.


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