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05 May 2015
The award was presented by Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director for UNICEF UK, Sue Ashmore, making it officially the only hospital in Beds, Herts and Bucks and one of only four in the East of England to be Baby Friendly accredited.
The Trust achieved the Level 3 Baby Friendly Award following an assessment in October 2014. During the inspection new mothers were interviewed about their experience of infant feeding.
The report found that 85% of Bedford Hospital mothers were ‘very happy’ with the overall care from the maternity service: 97% had skin contact with their baby for at least one hour and at birth, 93% cent were supported with feeding their baby, and all new mums were knowledgeable about effective feeding.
The Baby Friendly initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies. In the UK, the initiative works with public services to protect,promote and support breastfeeding, and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships.
Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director for UNICEF UK, Sue Ashmore, said: “We are delighted that Bedford Hospital has achieved full Baby Friendly status. Mothers at Bedford Hospital can be confident that their midwives will provide high standards of care. The overriding impression was that there is a culture of kindness in the maternity unit, with most mothers specifically mentioning this in their feedback.
“A great deal of effort has gone into achieving Baby Friendly standards and the team was impressed by the thorough approach to ensuring that all mothers receive a consistently good basic level of care.”
Debbie Sharp, Infant Feeding Coordinator at Bedford Hospital, said: "We are committed to providing mothers and babies with the best infant feeding advice possible and have been working with UNICEF UK's Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and improve care for all mothers.”
"Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses, such as gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy, as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life.
“However a mother chooses to feed her baby, she can besure that she will be supported to form a strong loving relationship with hernew-born, through maximum skin-to-skin contact, and to understand how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond.”
Bedford Hospital’s maternity service now joins local community health services, currently run by South Essex Partnership Trust, in being fully Baby Friendly accredited.
Nina Fraser, Director of Nursing, said: “Our maternity service is rated among the best in the country by our patients. This latest achievement means that both hospital and community services are fully accredited, giving mothers and babies in the area access to high quality,seamless and consistent care and advice on infant feeding.”