University thanks nation for its breast ever contribution

Posted on Wednesday 12th December 2012

Health Vistor students, Alexander Gias and Rachel Dale, with their dolls and knitted breasts

Staff and students on the University of Bolton’s Health Visitors course have been inundated with knitted breasts from across the country.

In the summer, the University put out a plea to anyone keen on the craft – and the needle-happy knitters responded in droves. So far the University has received over 100 and they are still coming in from as far away as the Isle of Wight.

Students are using the knitted breasts as teaching aids. They learn and then demonstrate breast feeding best practice to new mums. Each student is given a doll and a knitted breast so that they can practice and demonstrate their skills.

Katie McLaughlin is a lecturer on the Specialist Community Public Health Practice Programme, which incorporates the Health Visiting course. She said: ‘The response has been fantastic. We didn’t expect this many, but we welcome them as we can use them for the next cohort of students in January and the next academic year. We’d like to thank everyone who sent in the breasts and also like to say “keep them coming”.’

Sue First, course Advanced Practice Learning Facilitator, replies to each knitter, thanking them for their valued contribution. She said: ‘It is has been a great response and we’re happy so many people have got involved, so I thought it would be a nice touch if each knitter got a reply. 

‘We have had knitted breast from the Isle of Man, Dorset and Wales and they are still coming in.’

Knitters’ motivations for donating their needle-skills and time are varied. Sue added: ‘People are getting involved because they want to lend a hand, others just because they love knitting, but we’re also had some more personal reasons. For example, one lady from the Isle of Man said she knitted her breast as her son was born in Royal Bolton Hospital and she wanted to “give back”.’  

The University’s Health Visitors programme includes the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative training and was the first course of its kind in the country to be accredited by UNICEF.

The Baby Friendly Initiative was set-up in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure a high standard of care for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and babies.

The University is still accepting knitted breasts so if you want to get involved contact Sue on for the pattern.