July 31, 2019
Singleton Hospital gains full Baby Friendly accreditation
A hospital unit for premature babies needing the highest level of care has become the first in Wales to win global recognition after almost doubling breastfeeding rates.
Seventy-six per cent of babies discharged from Singleton Hospital's NICU are now receiving breast milk thanks to the support of staff. The rate was just 40% four years ago. It has led to the unit becoming the only level three NICU in Wales to gain full Baby Friendly accreditation from UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
Consultant Neonatologist Geraint Morris highlighted that the achievement was all the more impressive given that breastfeeding rates in the community are among the lowest in the UK. Official figures show that between October and December 2018 just 33% of mothers in the former ABMU Health Board area covering Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend were exclusively breastfeeding at 10 days after birth. This is the third lowest rate out of the seven Welsh health boards and below the Welsh average of 34.5%. Wales as a whole lags behind England and Scotland when it comes to breastfeeding rates.
As part of the drive to achieve full UNICEF Baby Friendly status, the unit had to demonstrate it promoted close and loving family relationships in a number of ways. For example, it has changed the rules around visiting to allow parents with children to bring them in so they can spend more time together as a family. This has led to siblings coming in for bedtime stories and for cuddles in the daytime.
Service Group Manager Sam Williams says: "I am extremely proud of the neonatal unit whose leadership and team ethos continues to shine through as they work closely with families to provide the very best care."