Kate is one of just seven Baby Friendly Initiative Qualified Leaders nationwide

Kate Lynch, pictured outside with a road and houses behind her, with her certificate. She has been named as one of just seven Baby Friendly Initiative Qualified Leaders nationwide

Published on 17 December 2020

East Kent Hospitals’ infant feeding co-ordinator Kate Lynch has been named as one of only seven Baby Friendly Initiative Qualified Leaders nationwide.

Kate received her qualification at the BFI virtual conference after six months of hard work.

She was part of the first cohort to take the qualification, which involved completing a portfolio that was externally assessed, and passing an interview.

The course started in March, just before lockdown, and Professor Mary Renfrew, professor of Mother and Infant Health at the University of Dundee, paid tribute to the newly qualified Leaders’ commitment to continuing with their studies.

Speaking at the BFI conference, she described the cohort as ‘really special’, adding: “Who could have at all predicted that just after starting the programme the world would run into a pandemic that for these participants affected every part of their lives?

“The fact that they have succeeded is huge testament to their determination, commitment and abilities.”

Kate, who shares her role as infant feeding co-ordinator with Phil Parrett, thanked the maternity team for their support.

She said: “Ursula Marsh was hugely encouraging and Maddie Harris arranged study leave which was a real help.

“I should also thank the teachers at my five-year-old daughter’s school, for staying open for keyworkers’ children throughout lockdown, which allowed me to continue with my studies.

“It is a huge honour to be one of the first BFI Qualified Leaders and I am looking forward to continuing to work with colleagues across maternity to share information and learning about the importance of infant feeding.”

The Trust is continuing to work towards being Baby Friendly Initiative accredited and has already passed the first stage, which recognises that all staff are trained to provide the best advice and support with breastfeeding.

The scheme is regarded as the gold standard for maternity and neonatal teams.