NICU achieves stage one of UNICEF BFI accreditation

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has achieved stage one accreditation of the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI). The initiative supports breastfeeding and developing close and loving parent infant relationships so that all babies get the best possible start in life.

Trusts which implement the Baby Friendly standards receive the prestigious Baby Friendly award, a nationally recognised mark of quality care. Most maternity units and health visiting services across the UK are now working towards Baby Friendly accreditation. New neonatal standards have been introduced to help services improve care. These are: promoting close and loving relationships, use of breast milk and breastfeeding, and ensuring parents are partners in care. The Neonatal Critical Care Review announced that all neonatal units should embed these standards and be fully accredited by 2027.

Sue Harris is a Neonatal Nurse and joint BFI lead alongside Suzy Goodfellow at NNHH. She said: “We’re delighted to have achieved stage one accreditation which shows we have a firm foundation to work towards full accreditation. We are now putting steps in place to achieve stage two accreditation within the next 18 months. This will involve educating the whole team and auditing to assess for the embedding of the neonatal standards. We have planned a study day for all of the nurses who work on NICU and we will support the medical team to complete an e-learning package.”

NICU has its own full time Infant Feeding Co-ordinator, Coral Cooper, who has been instrumental in supporting parents on NICU with their feeding choices. Mothers are encouraged to express their breast milk and parents can then be taught how to give this through a feeding tube. Parents who choose to bottle feed their baby are supported to do this safely when their baby is ready.

Sue added: “It’s so important for our neonatal unit to embed the three neonatal standards to help us ensure the best outcome for both the baby and their family. For the unit to achieve accreditation will be a huge team effort and this will demonstrate our commitment to providing gold standard care.”

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