Maternity unit staff celebrate Unicef award
STAFF at Singleton Hospital's maternity unit are celebrating after being awarded the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation.
The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative provides a framework for maternity units to follow to ensure parents are informed of all baby feeding options, and that they are fully supported in the method they choose.
The award means that for the mothers using Singleton Hospital's maternity unit, they will have access to staff that are aware of the evidence in support of breast feeding, and are trained to teach mothers how to breast feed, if that is the method of feeding they wish to use.
Currently, around 60 per cent of mothers who give birth in the maternity unit at Singleton Hospital breast feed their baby.
Cathy Dowling, head of midwifery, said: "Team work has been key in gaining this accreditation.
"A mixture of every healthcare professional has been involved as it can't just be one person saying how to do something. Neo-natal care and midwifery are completely aligned.
"Post-natal care can be hard, and one area in particular is the conflicting information for feeding.
"We need to make sure we are all clear on what the evidence is, so we can inform the mother and work in her best interest. The award has given us a platform to work from. We have to continue on the good work, and build on it.
"I like the fact we had external assessors coming in. It isn't just whether or not we think we are doing a good job. I had great confidence the results would be exemplary. I am very proud of everyone involved in this."
Sue Ashmore, Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative programme director, added: "The assessors praised their team work. Everyone has been on board, the neo-natal nurses, midwives, the wards and the management."
Karen Evans, infant feeding co-ordinator and supervisor of midwives at Singleton Hospital, said: "This accreditation is for best practice standards. It therefore ensures that all mothers and babies who access our service are given care that is evidence based and of a high standard. This is a fantastic achievement by everyone involved."
For a maternity unit to become accredited with the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative award, it has to implement the ten steps to successful breast feeding, which include: having a breast feeding policy in place; ensuring staff are trained to assist and support all new mothers; and to make sure that women have all the necessary information on breast feeding before they reach 34 weeks.
Once a maternity unit believes that they have achieved all ten, it can apply to Unicef to be externally assessed.