Northern Trust retains world-recognised Baby Friendly Award

The Northern Trust’s Maternity Services have retained their UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) Baby Friendly accreditation. 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.

Northern Trust Head of Midwifery Caroline Keown reported that a continued effort from all staff allowed the Trust to maintain the high standard of care and ensured all mothers and babies got off to the best possible start. This success was reflected in the service user’s experience review which revealed that 100 per cent of mothers questioned reported they were happy with the care they received.

Caroline explained “the new ‘Baby Friendly’ standards focus on supporting a mother to develop a relationship with her unborn baby, prepare for feeding her baby, the importance of communication with her unborn and new baby, being aware of feeding cues from your baby, and the importance of skin to skin contact after the birth. The approach is that feeding is a reciprocal relationship between mother and baby. The aim is to encourage loving relationships between parents and babies and this includes how to do this when bottle-feeding.”

The Baby Friendly programme is designed to support parent infant relationships and is the first ever national intervention to have a positive effect on breastfeeding rates in the UK. The baby friendly practices aim to provide parents with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their baby and to feed their baby in ways which will support optimum health and development.


Notes to editor:
1. The Baby Friendly programme is independently evaluated through rigorous staff assessment and a review of service user’s experience.
2. 38 new mothers in Antrim Area Hospital and 30 new mothers in Causeway Hospital were interviewed as part of the accreditation. 45 Northern Trust staff were also assessed.
3. 45 members of staff (both Hospital and Community) were interviewed face to face across the Trust – a structured interview testing their knowledge and expertise and asking them to demonstrate practical skills on how they support and encourage women to feed and respond to their babies either in postnatal wards, community settings in mothers own homes or within Neo-Natal Units.
4. The UNICEF team reported high levels of satisfaction with the Maternity Service with 91% overall reporting being very happy with care they received, 9% reporting fairly happy or neutral and 0% reporting they were unhappy with the care.

11th May 2017

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