Unicef award presented to NNUH midwifery team
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has gained international recognition from Unicef (United Nation’s Children’s Fund) and been fully accredited with its prestigious Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) Award.
The Award was presented by TV and radio broadcaster Jake Humphrey, his wife Harriet and their 11 month old son Sebastian who was born at NNUH.
The rigorous Unicef assessment involved interviews with 55 new mothers about all aspects of their care relating to feeding and caring for their babies. The report noted: “It was clear to the assessment team that pregnant women and new mothers receive a very high standard of care. This is a busy unit providing care for mothers living across a wide geographical area, however in spite of this many mothers commented on the personal service received, complementing individual staff by name. The postnatal ward was highlighted as being particularly busy, however virtually all mothers commented on their kindness and patience shown by staff and volunteers who clearly see the support they provide related to feeding and new-born care as a priority.”
“We decided to join forces with Unicef UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers and babies at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital,” said Barbara Jackson, Matron for NNUH’s Antenatal and Postnatal service.
“Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy, as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancers,” added Luisa Lyons, Infant Feeding Co-ordinator.
“But whether a mother chooses to breastfeed or bottle-feed her baby, she can be sure that she will be supported to form a strong loving relationship with her new-born baby through having maximum skin to skin contact and understanding how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond.”
The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by Unicef and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies. In the UK, the initiative works with UK public services to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships. Support for these relationships is important for all babies, not only those who are breastfed. The Award is given to Hospitals after an assessment by a Unicef team has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place. In 2013, the NNUH passed Stage Two of the BFI assessment, when 97% of Maternity and NICU staff interviewed could correctly demonstrate knowledge and practical skills necessary for effective breastfeeding support.
“We are delighted that the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has achieved full Baby Friendly status,” said Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director, Sue Ashmore. “Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers at the Norfolk and Norwich can be confident that their maternity and neonatal teams will provide high standards of care.”