The Midwifery team at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is thrilled to have achieved Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) accreditation.
This prestigious award acknowledges DMU's high standard of breastfeeding training and means students are being equipped with the skills needed to support new mothers.
Lead Midwife for Education Rowena Doughty is "very proud" that DMU has achieved the standard.
She said: "Breastfeeding is a significant part of midwifery care and practice and this means when students start practising as midwives, NHS Trusts can be assured they meet the standards needed.
"It is also a good quality mark for the university."
The BFI University Standards programme supports midwifery teaching teams to ensure that newly qualified midwives can provide mothers and babies with the best possible care. DMU has been working collaboratively with local NHS Trusts, which provide student placements and mentors, so DMU students and graduates can implement the BFI standards in the workplace.
The Midwifery teaching team at DMU
Mrs Doughty said: "A large number of new mothers stop breastfeeding before they want to because they don't get the support they need. We have prepared our midwives to have the skills and knowledge to ensure that they continue to support breastfeeding for as long as mums want."
To achieve accreditation, final-year students were assessed on their knowledge and skills across five themes, with a pass mark of 80 per cent. In some areas - including an ability to apply their knowledge of physiology to support mothers to overcome challenges - students scored 100 per cent.
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Francesca Entwistle, a Professional Officer for Unicef UK BFI, said: "DMU has worked really hard to achieve the Unicef UK BFI standards to an excellent level.
"Student midwives will graduate from DMU with the knowledge, skills and confidence to support mothers to get feeding off to a good start and to help parents as they begin to build a close and loving relationship with their baby.
"It has been a pleasure to work with the midwifery teaching team. Of particular note is their development of a tutor-led infant feeding support clinic, where local mothers can drop in for breastfeeding support or just for reassurance as a new parent, and students can develop their skills."
Final-year Midwifery students
Sophie Shea was among the students involved in the process.
"It was an honour to be part of the accreditation and to be able to give something back to the university that has given me so much as a student," said Sophie, who has now finished her course and is joining a midwifery unit in North Wales.
"The BFI accreditation is very appealing to prospective employers and puts you above other candidates. It has enabled me to support women to breastfeed their babies and empower them to make the right feeding choice for themselves and their babies."
Classmate Sadie Morrison, who starts work at Leicester General Hospital in November, said: "I have expanded my knowledge of breastfeeding and this will help me to further my career in the future.
"It was an amazing opportunity, which has brought with it great satisfaction and sense of achievement."
Posted on Thursday 5th October 2017