From left, midwife Kerri Jury, Coast to Coast Health Care manager Nancy Malloy, post-natal nurse Pam Hollis and midwife manager Kate Rankin accept the Birthing Unit accreditation certificate from Julie Stufkens (centre).
The Wellsford Birthing Unit is now officially ‘Baby Friendly’, having received official accreditation in a World Health Organisation and UNICEF best practice programme that aims to make all maternity services ‘centres of breastfeeding support’.
Following an audit by the NZ Breastfeeding Association (NZBA), the Coast to Coast Health Care maternity centre was granted accreditation as a Baby-Friendly Hospital and an official certificate was presented to staff by the NZBA executive officer Julie Stufkens at the unit last week. Coast to Coast manager Nancy Malloy says the Wellsford Birthing Unit supports thousands of women through breastfeeding already, but the official certification and care strategy, which is endorsed by the Ministry of Health, will help to push the message home that breastfeeding is best and provide a formal framework for staff to follow.
“We’ve gone through the process over the last year, developing leaflets and information and all nurses have completed 20 hours-plus of education.
The accreditation process has cost around $5000 to implement and lasts for three years, after which re-accreditation is required. According to the NZBA, several studies have shown that having the Baby Friendly strategy and accreditation can increase breastfeeding rates, reduce the incidence of illness for babies and mothers, and help families to feel supported throughout the birthing process and beyond.
The WHO and UNICEF’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants of breastfeeding mothers no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practise rooming-in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no artificial pacifiers or dummies to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from hospital.