Posted on Wednesday 16 May 2018
Beverley Radley, specialist midwife, Niamh Murphy and daughter Sophie
Mothers joined in the celebrations as health visitors and midwives from Guy’s and St Thomas’ achieved UNICEF Baby Friendly status. The community team, supported by Lambeth Council’s children's centres, received the Baby Friendly Initiative full accreditation (Stage 3).
The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, works with health professionals to help parents build close and loving relationships with their baby. It also encourages women to feed their baby in ways that maximise health and development.
The team in Lambeth have been working towards accreditation since 2011 and set up nine breastfeeding groups known as Milk Spots to support mothers. They offer a welcoming environment for women and provide support from specialist breastfeeding midwives from the Trust, mothers who act as volunteer peer helpers and staff from Evelina London’s health visiting team.
Niamh Murphy, 33, from Streatham, visited the Woodmansterne Children’s Centre Milk Spot with her daughter Sophie (who is now a year old) whilst breastfeeding. She says: “Sophie was born on Tuesday and we were home on the Friday.
When the midwife came to see us she realised Sophie hadn’t been feeding very well and wasn’t latching on. “Wednesday afternoon was Milk Spot. It became a lifeline for me, I would sit with other mums, share tips and get tips.
“They taught me techniques and holds I just wouldn’t have known. It was somewhere to go to get encouragement, when I left I felt better and I thought ‘I can do another week.’
“Bev, the midwife at the centre, encouraged me to get Sophie to latch on to the breast properly. She even diagnosed Sophie with a severe tongue-tie (a problem moving the tongue) which makes it difficult for babies to breastfeed. Because of Bev, Sophie had the problem corrected.
“Without the Milk Spot I would never have managed to breastfeed my baby.”
Irene Addo, nurse manager for health visiting at Guy’s and St Thomas’, says: “To receive UNICEF’s highest Baby Friendly award is such a fantastic achievement for our staff and team of mothers who help us support women to breastfeed successfully.
“We recognise that sometimes breastfeeding can be challenging so we have created an environment where mothers can feel confident to breastfeed. We offer advice and information so parents can make decisions about what’s best for them when it comes to feeding their baby and help all parents to build a close and loving relationship with their baby.”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ maternity department already holds full UNICEF Baby Friendly accreditation. For more information about Guy’s and St Thomas’ breastfeeding services visit the Lambeth and Southwark breastfeeding groups Facebook page and the Evelina London website.