UNICEF re-accredits the Great Western Hospital as baby friendly

The Great Western Hospital has received full accreditation again from UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative after a recent assessment.

The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative supports breastfeeding and parent and child relationships by working with public services to improve care standards.

Accreditation lasts for 18 months before it needs to be reassessed and teams across the hospital have worked hard to get it awarded again.

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Cathy Gale, Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife, said: “We are very pleased; our maternity and neonatal teams have been working hard to get re-accredited and it involved looking at several departments’ input into the journey through hospital for new parents.

“The Baby Friendly initiative is about helping babies to have closeness with parents, especially in the early days as it is important for their long-term development.

“There is a strong evidence base for our care standards for new mothers and babies.

“One example is that all mothers, regardless of type of birth or chosen feeding method, are enabled to have at least one hour of uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact for at least an hour or until the baby has had the first feed.

“This encourages a calm and unhurried ‘golden hour’ for the new family to get to know each other.”

Through the staged accreditation programme, health professionals are enabled to support all mothers with their feeding and help parents to build a close and loving relationship with their baby.

All maternity and neonatal staff at the Great Western Hospital have a training update each year to keep up to date with any new knowledge and research.

GWH also aims to promote and support breastfeeding through the national Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme and has a dedicated room for mothers to breastfeed or express milk, including those visiting the Women’s Outpatients department and staff who return to work after having a baby.

The Trust is now working on achieving a separate Baby Friendly accreditation for the Special Care Baby Unit.

For more information about the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative, visit https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/.