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North East health trust the first in the region to provide breastfeeding rooms for staff returning to work

Wednesday, 05 January, 2022
North East health trust the first in the region to provide breastfeeding rooms for staff returning to work

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is offering staff who are returning from maternity leave a private sanctuary to express their breast milk.

The trust is delighted to announce that it will be providing breastfeeding ‘expressing’ rooms for staff across all of its sites.  The trust will be the first in the region to offer this security to staff, and hopes it will provide reassurance to its pregnant workforce.

As one of the North East’s largest employers, it is committed to supporting staff members on their breastfeeding journey. With an ethos to actively support and encourage all employees to treat breastfeeding as a normal activity within the workplace, it is creating an inclusive culture for all.

The health trust is invested in advocating breastfeeding, employing a specialist Infant Feeding Co-ordinator who supports families on their feeding journey. This includes both antenatal and postnatal education, enabling women to make an informed choice around breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding has both short and long-term benefits for mum and baby, lasting right into adulthood.  So as a responsible trust and a thought leader in the world of maternity care, Northumbria Healthcare has put arrangements in place to ensure that staff have access to the right facilities to support them in their decision to breastfeed beyond their return to work.

The trust ensures that all members of staff who are breastfeeding are given the time to express their milk, without having to use their personal break time. This is a demonstration of its commitment to make breastfeeding the normal for all, and achievable in the workplace too.

The rooms have been individually designed as a safe haven, with thought given to even the smallest details creating a relaxing environment.  Featuring reclining chairs and comfortable sofas, the rooms have a sideboard to store equipment and a kitchenette so they can stay hydrated. There is even a fridge so that the pouches of breastmilk can be kept chilled until the end of the day.

In addition to furnishing these rooms, the trusts’ Bright charity has also funded cool bags for all staff members going on maternity leave. The idea is that when they return to work, the bag can aid storage of the expressed milk in a cool and safe environment.

Jenna Wall, Head of Midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is a huge step forward for the trust in terms of the support provided to breastfeeding employees returning from maternity leave. We are committed to supporting women across Northumberland and North Tyneside along their breastfeeding journey, it is only right that we extend this support to our own members of staff too.”

Nicole Contogiorgi, Public Health Operations Services Manager at the trust said: “The wellbeing of our staff continues to be a priority for us, especially in the current climate. Providing facilities to enable staff to give the next generation the best start in life is very important to us and we are delighted to be able to offer this space.”