International children’s charity Unicef has awarded The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust Baby Friendly status following backing from parents.
The accolade recognises the hard work of colleagues in maternity services at the hospital and in the community who have reached the high standards required by Unicef (the United Nation’s Children’s Fund) to support and encourage mums to breastfeed.
Audra Muxlow, Head of Midwifery, Nursing and Professions at TRFT, said: "We decided to follow the recommendations and standards of Unicef UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers in Rotherham.
"Breastfeeding offers life-long benefits and 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 some cancer.
“We are thrilled to receive this award because it demonstrates how committed we are to supporting mums to give their babies the very best start in life. Unicef vigorously checks with mums the advice and support we are giving is the best it possibly can be. We received the award after backing from parents, which is really satisfying for us.
“I hope the award shows what fantastic services we offer to parents in Rotherham and gives mums-to-be the confidence that we will ensure they leave hospital with the skills to provide their new-borns with the best possible start in life.”
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 will be presented to TRFT after an assessment by a Unicef team showed that recognised best practice standards are in place.
Sue Ashmore, Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director, said: "We are delighted that The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust has achieved full Baby Friendly status.
“Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers in Rotherham can be confident that their midwives and health visitors will provide high standards of care.”
In addition to the Unicef baby Friendly accreditation, TRFT has successfully won a bid for £64,000 funding from Health Education England’s Maternity Safety Fund.
The money, part of an £8 million pot distributed nationally to Trust which apply for a share, will be used to support Rotherham’s maternity services to develop and maintain high standards of leadership, teamwork, communication, clinical skills and a culture of safety whilst reducing maternal and foetal harm.
For more information about the work of The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, please visit: http://www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/ You can also join the 3,900+ followers we have on Twitter @RotherhamNHS_FT or ‘like us’ on Facebook www.facebook.com/TheRotherhamNHSFoundationTrust.