In September 2022, New Life generously gave a grant of £5,189.75 to the Trust’s charity, Brighter Futures for the purchase of equipment which supports families who wish to store and reheat breast milk safely whilst their infant is in hospital. Caring for a young baby can be daunting for all parents, but feels even more complicated when in hospital. Responding to their babies needs and feeding them helps bonding and brings comfort to their infant. The neonatal and maternity teams at Great Western Hospital are committed to ensuring that all mothers are supported to feed their babies by their chosen method. They provide positive support and encouragement for mothers who would like to breastfeed. Breast milk protects baby from infections and diseases and has long-term benefits for babies, lasting right into adulthood.
Many babies being cared for in our neonatal unit may be too small or sick, to be breastfeed from their mother’s breast. But mothers can start regularly collecting their breast milk (by expressing) as soon as possible after their baby is born. Parental involvement in the care of their baby is so important for parents and babies and a crucial part of the unit’s aim to be “family centred”. To allow greater involvement in the feeding of their baby they need access to fridges to place the expressed breastmilk in and then be able to retrieve them from a secure place when a feed is required. Thanks to New Life, we can now offer parents access to milk safe boxes and specialist baby milk warmers across our post-natal ward, transitional care unit and the Neonatal unit. New Equipment New Life’s recent donation allowed the purchase of 32 “Milk Safe Boxes”.
Each one can be securely locked and placed in an accessible and communal fridge. They are locked with a secure code which only they and staff know.
This means parents have control and can be fully involved in feeding. “Our baby Marcellus was being cared for in the Neonatal Unit when the new milk storage boxes arrived. They are so much better than what was here before. It gives real peace of mind and confidence that there will be no accidental mix ups. The warmers are so easy to use and intuitive. We’ve been in the unit for more than two months and having this equipment really helps us to take the lead in feeding our baby.
The staff in the unit really encourage and support our involvement and we are very grateful for everything they do.” Abigail McDaniel “We have had really positive feedback from staff and patients. The new lockable boxes and warmers helps us bring alive the UNICEF value of parents as partners and helps promotes parents’ independence. Parents really value not having to wait and being in charge of feeding; and it helps to promote bonding and the development of a close and loving relationship.” Ros Freestone (Infant Feeding Specialist Nurse and Kath Townsend (Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife) The grant also purchased three specialist baby milk warmers that warms milk gently and helps to preserve nutrients. By circulating warm air in an enclosed chamber, the warmer eliminates the risk of contamination through contact with water. The warmer is convenient and easy to use so is a great support to families feeding their babies.
Family Centred Care Parents, regardless of where their baby is being cared for in Maternity and Neonatal services, can now have access to the same facilities so that all Mums can have access to their own milk.