Midwives at Musgrove Park Hospital are celebrating after international charity Unicef declared the hospital as Gold Standard for its baby friendly care and support.
It means that future generations of babies, their mothers and families under the care of Musgrove Park’s maternity unit will continue to experience the very best baby friendly standards.
Unicef has rated only five other hospitals in the UK as Gold Standard and Musgrove Park is the first in the South West.
Some of the positive measures put in place as part of the Gold Standard accreditation include:
- Increasing the number of hours an infant feeding midwife is available from 45 to 95 hours, while improving and knowledge for staff across the whole maternity unit.
- Every clinical ward area across the maternity unit has a breastfeeding champion.
- Additional training for maternity and neonatal unit staff.
- Action plans in place for challenges, such as women who need to be readmitted.
- Development of training and services for strongly related topics such as perinatal mental health.
- Development of transitional care to enable mothers and babies to remain together.
Staff at the unit were thrilled with the news. Sallyann King, head of midwifery at Musgrove Park, said it was a significant achievement for the hospital.
“We are delighted to have been awarded a Gold Standard by Unicef,” she said. “It’s a testament to the way our midwives and support staff really go that extra mile to take care of the physical and emotional wellbeing of parents and their babies.”
“Everyone knows the huge benefits to mum and baby of breastfeeding and we are really thankful for the support of Unicef, which has helped us to support new parents. I want to say a really big thank you to everyone who has helped us to achieve this milestone, from our infant feeding team and midwives, to our support workers, doctors and paediatricians.”
Midwife Naomi Doble recently became a baby friendly champion through the Unicef programme. “I’m really proud of this achievement,” she said. “It has been really great to support women and their families on their infant feeding journeys.”
Kayleigh Allsopp, a student midwife at Musgrove, said she felt well supported by the infant feeding team. “I often work in the community, helping mums to give birth at home so it’s really important for me to know that we have help on hand from the infant feeding team as mums often ask us questions about breastfeeding.”
Tammy Iredale, trainee nursing associate at Musgrove, said: “As part of our journey to becoming a Gold Standard maternity service we have introduced stretchy wrap slings for mums and dads. We’ve had great feedback from parents who say it gives them that extra help to bond with their new baby, as well as breastfeed should they choose to.”
Liz Gunn, infant feeding midwife at Musgrove, said: “We know that breastfeeding can be a challenge for some new mums in the early days and that’s where the baby friendly initiative comes in as it provides support before, during and after birth.”
Gemma Blayney, a mum from Taunton, has breastfed her 20 month old daughter Harley since she was born. “I knew I wanted to breastfeed and had done a little of my own research,” she said. Once Harley was born, the maternity team at Musgrove immediately placed her onto my chest, skin to skin. This is the best thing possible and I know they try their hardest to make this happen for each birth.”
“I think this really helped with the beginning of our breastfeeding journey. Harley latched on pretty perfectly soon after birth and often afterwards. I was lucky enough to find a breastfeeding support group in Taunton once Harley was a few weeks old, run by two of the infant feeding team at Musgrove – and I still attend now, to give support to othewr mums.”
Hannah Whiskin, a mum from Taunton, had a tough start to breastfeeding. “My little boy Sebby just couldn’t work out what to do, but with the incredible support and help from the maternity unit and infant feeding team at Musgrove Park, we were able to exclusively breastfeed. We visited a weekly voluntary support group run by a maternity support worker, which was a Godsend. I’m still feeding at 23 months all thanks to the support I received during those early days, which continued almost two years down the line.”