South Tyneside NHS launches programme to support parents form close relationship with their babies

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The trust will work towards achieving the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust’s maternity teams have launched a special programme to educate and support families as they set out on parenthood.

Working towards achieving the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, the programme is led alongside the World Health Organisation to help transform healthcare for babies and their families.

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Head of Midwifery Dawn Edmundson and Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Melanie Johnson with the certificateHead of Midwifery Dawn Edmundson and Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Melanie Johnson with the certificate
Head of Midwifery Dawn Edmundson and Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Melanie Johnson with the certificate

This ensures they get the best possible start to life by helping public services better support them with feeding and developing a close and loving relationship.

It also supports maternity, neonatal, health visiting and children’s centre services and also works with universities to ensure newly qualified midwives and health visitors have the strong foundation of knowledge needed to support families.

Melanie Johnson, Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, and the Trust’s Breastfeeding Guardian for Maternity and Neonatal, said: “Our Maternity services across our hospitals and our community teams are fully behind our plans to achieve this standard.

“We know it will help us focus on supporting parents form that close relationship with their newborn and set them up for their life together.”

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Part of this work will be aimed at improving breastfeeding rates.

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In the early stages, around half of the babies the Trust delivers are breastfed and this falls to 26% in South Tyneside as they get older.

“We are driven to help parents who choose to breastfeed their baby. Our midwives and nursery nurses offer lots of help to those who are expecting and in those days, weeks and months after their delivery.

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“This accreditation will build on the work already put in by our Neonatal Team and see us invest yet more in terms of expertise, training and education. We know learning is key to making our service strong and supportive.”

The Trust has begun its first steps to achieving the accreditation by signing a Certificate of Commitment.

The journey, which will take several years to achieve, will see its staff undergo training and learn how to give advice and support to help patients and their loved ones.

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