Kent midwives wins national award for ‘liquid gold’ breastmilk project
Two Kent midwives who increased the collection and use of antenatal breastmilk have won the JOHNSON’S® Excellence in Maternity Care and Innovation Award in the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Awards
Sally Sidhu and Jan Gatehouse from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust developed resources - including a video - for women, giving them information and supporting them to collect their early breastmilk ahead of the birth. Called colostrum or ‘liquid gold’, this early breastmilk is produced from about 16 weeks into pregnancy and is particularly beneficial for women with issues such as diabetes, a raised BMI or are having a multiple birth such as twins. It also has many health benefits for the baby including boosting its immune system, helping it to fight infections better. The project has been particularly successful in reaching more vulnerable women such as those from less affluent backgrounds and BAME communities.
Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM, said:
“Feeding your baby colostrum is one of the ways to help them get the best start in life with the health benefits it can bring. Raising awareness about this is so important as many women are unaware about colostrum and beneficial it can be. This is a simple and innovative example of how we can get that message to women and increase the numbers collecting it and giving it to their babies. This is a really important project, and Sally and Jan are worthy winners of this award.”
A key part of the project is the eight-minute film featuring Sally and Jan, explaining how to express and store colostrum so that women can give it to their baby soon after the birth. This visual educational aid is an invaluable tool to show to women in antenatal classes, at appointments with midwives or it may be watched online – this may inspire other midwives to produce their own films for local or even national audiences.
A JOHNSON’S® spokesperson said: “We were delighted once again to support this award in Excellence in Maternity Care and Innovation. The team from NHS Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells identified this specific and less well-known opportunity to help mums and newborns, especially in harder to reach communities. We were particularly pleased to see the use of technology in the film made to illustrate this opportunity and look forward to further adoption to help reach more mums with other beneficial practices.”
The RCM is announcing the RCM award winners in the week in which International Day of the Midwife is celebrated on 5 May, and during International Year of the Midwife.
To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].
Notes to editors
The film about colostrum collection and storage produced by Sally, Jan and the maternity team can be viewed at https://www.mtw.nhs.uk/infant-feeding/ .
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the RCM Annual Award event due to take place on 5 May was cancelled. For more information on the RCM Annual Awards visit http://www.rcmawards.com/awards-day.
JOHNSON’S®, an Alliance Partner with the RCM since 2004 is proud to work with the RCM, supporting midwives in their work to care for mothers and babies. JOHNSON’S® partnership with the RCM is highly valued and we are pleased to be able to sponsor these awards celebrating the hard work and dedication of midwives. For more information about JOHNSON’S®, visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/johnsons
The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.