Published on 01 November 2019
East Kent Hospitals has passed the first stage in achieving Unicef Baby Friendly accreditation, meaning mums and babies will get the best advice and support with breastfeeding.
The scheme is regarded as the gold standard for maternity and neonatal teams and the Trust had to demonstrate training was in place for all staff to meet the criteria for the first stage.
Infant feeding coordinators Kate Lynch and Philippa Parrett led the process and said it meant mums and babies would get the same top-quality care to establish breastfeeding, whether they gave birth at Ashford or Margate, and whoever looked after them.
Kate said: “Everyone is truly committed to achieving Unicef Baby Friendly accreditation, and this has been demonstrated by the way they have really got on board with the process.
“We can now be confident that everyone will be trained to the same high standard and providing the best advice and support to new mums on breastfeeding and the benefits it offers them and their babies.”
As part of their preparations to achieve full Baby Friendly accreditation, Kate and Philippa have organised groups of volunteer baby-friendly advocates at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. Across both sites, staff deliver approximately 6,500 babies every year.
Unicef’s Baby Friendly status is designed to provide parents with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their babies, and to feed them in ways which support optimum health and development.
The report confirming the first stage conditions had been met praised the quality of the documents submitted and the thorough and strategic planning by the team to implement the Baby Friendly standards.
It also recognised senior managers’ support for the project.
The Trust will now work towards achieving the second stage accreditation, which must be done by August 2021 and recognises staff’s ability to support women with complex breastfeeding issues. After that the guidelines allow a year to reach full accreditation, which involves judges interviewing mothers who have used the service about their experiences. Staff are also tested on their knowledge.