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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

UNICEF’s Baby-Friendly Award recognises exceptional care at Antrim Area Hospital Neonatal Unit

Staff from Antrim Area Hospital’s Neonatal Unit

Staff from Antrim Area Hospital’s Neonatal Unit

Antrim Area Hospital’s Neonatal Unit has retained its prestigious Baby Friendly award from UNICEF.

The recent re-accreditation follows on from its initial success last year. It remains the only Neonatal Unit in Northern Ireland to hold the recognition, acknowledging the exceptional standard of care provided to sick and vulnerable babies and their families.

Welcoming the news, the Northern Trust’s Executive Director of Nursing Suzanne Pullins said:

“Our Neonatal Unit staff do a very special job every day, caring for some of our most vulnerable babies and their parents during some of their most worrying and challenging days.

“A lot of work went in to achieving this award for the first time and it is hugely rewarding to continue on our journey and receive our first re-accreditation. The award recognises how our multidisciplinary team supports parents to develop close bonds and loving relationships with their preterm or sick baby, their commitment to increasing breastfeeding rates and the value they place on parents as partners in their baby’s care, so that ultimately all babies get the best possible start in life.”

UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme which aims to transform healthcare for babies, their mothers and families as part of a wider global partnership between UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Anne Woods, UNICEF’s Deputy Programme Director said:

“I would like to pass on congratulations from everyone at UNICEF UK for this excellent achievement.”

Some of the simple but effective measures implemented in the Neonatal Unit as part of the Baby Friendly programme include the provision of:

• Comfortable recliner chairs for use by breastfeeding mothers;

• Breast pumps for each cot space;

• More privacy screens to encourage mothers to pump breastmilk beside the cot;

• Meal vouchers for parents to have a hot meal each day;

• Small fridges in each nursery for mothers to manage their own breastmilk supply;

• Car parking tickets to enable free car parking on the Antrim Hospital site;

• A hydration station for parents and staff to drink water/juice throughout the day;

• Coat hangers for parents to feel at home and have somewhere to hang their belongings;

• A baby library to encourage parents to take a book and read to their baby;

• Promotion of breastmilk while supporting all choices/methods of feeding.


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