Mums call for Kingaroy Hospital to be 'baby-friendly'
ABOUT 306 babies are born at the Kingaroy Hospital every year, and now some South Burnett families are calling for it to be recognised as a baby-friendly facility.
Kingaroy mum Isabelle Seabrook said 236 people signed the online petition calling for the hospital to be accredited as part of the World Health Organisation's Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
"It's purely about education, support and encouragement for new mums while they're in hospital," Mrs Seabrook said.
"We want to support other young mums - that first experience in a maternity ward sets up a woman's perception in how they deliver in the future."
Mrs Seabrook said the Kingaroy Hospital - which is the midst of redevelopment, due for completion in 2021 - was already an excellent maternity facility.
"The hospital ticks a lot of the boxes already, I just want to see them tick the remaining boxes," she said.
The accreditation facilitates skin-to-skin contact, further training and skills development for staff, and support for new mums to give them the confidence to breastfeed.
It is a global effort launched by WHO to promote breastfeeding through educating new parents and has a measurable impact of increasing the likelihood of babies being exclusively being breastfed for the first six months.
This leaves new mums empowered and educated to choose how to feed their baby.
"People leave the hospital with a choice - they are educated about a woman's own resources," Mrs Seabrook said.
"We have nothing against formula."
As the Kingaroy Hospital redevelopment progresses, these South Burnett families believe now is the time to start organising the accreditation.
"Anything that makes a positive change for the future women who give birth here is good," Mrs Seabrook said.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a joint program by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF which was launched in 1991.
Mrs Seabrook said it was also recognised by the Australian College of Midwives as a gold standard of care.
The Darling Downs Health and Hospital service said they have already started looking into the accreditation.