UNICEF recognises Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ maternity services

19 July 2016

Midwives and support workers caring for new mums and babies at Sherwood Forest Hospitals have been commended for their work by UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s charity.

It’s all part of UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Award, given to services that adopt international standards of best practice caring for new born children.

In their assessment of Maternity Services at Kings Mill and Newark hospitals, the UNICEF team wrote: “Mothers and staff spoke highly about the excellent care provided by the Lime Green team as well as the kindness shown to them by midwives and support staff. The high standard of care given to the mothers reflected the staff’s skills and knowledge base.”

Midwives and healthcare support workers help breastfeeding mums on the wards, while the hospital’s Lime Green Infant Feeding team helps mums and babies back at home. The Lime Green team was set up three years ago to provide on-going help and advice to mums in their first few weeks back at home. The team has proved very popular.

Alison Whitham, Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology at Sherwood Forest Hospitals said: “We are absolutely delighted with this award. Everyone works extremely hard caring for our mums and babies, and it’s excellent that UNICEF has judged our quality and professionalism deserves further recognition two years after their first inspection.”

The Maternity Service has backed the UNICEF Baby Friendly initiative to increase breastfeeding in the UK since 2009. In that time the number of new breastfeeding mums has risen from 54% to 66% of those admitted to Sherwood Forest Hospitals.

“Whether on the ward or out in the community, however a mum chooses to feed her baby, breast or formula, she will always be supported to form a strong loving relationship with her new-born,” says Jo Lincoln, Sherwood Forest Hospitals Infant Feeding Co-ordinator.

UNICEF first accredited the Maternity Service at Sherwood Forest Hospitals as Baby Friendly in February 2014. After the first Award is made UNICEF re-inspects services after two years, then every three years, to ensure standards are maintained.

Eighty-eight per cent of mothers during the latest visit said they were very happy with their care, and no one was unhappy with the care overall.

The Lime Green Infant Feeding Team supports mums in the Newark, Sherwood, Ashfield and Mansfield communities.

Breastfeeding has well known health benefits for babies including reducing the risk of sudden Infant death and obesity. For mothers it reduces the risk of some cancers including breast cancer

Emerging evidence suggests that breastfeeding has a positive impact on mother-baby relationships: breastfeeding releases certain hormones which promote maternal feelings and behaviour. Strong early relationships and a stable and loving environment are all conducive to babies’ healthy emotional, social and physical development, through production of the hormone oxytocin.