Unicef, the children’s charity, has recognised Queen Elizabeth Hospital, part of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, with its prestigious Level 3 Baby Friendly Award, the highest level attainable.
Achieving the accreditation is examined on whether the service meets a set of evidence-based standards designed to provide parents with the best possible care so they can build a close and loving relationship with their baby.
To be recognised with Level 3 the Unicef team are looking to establish that the hospital are working to these best practices at every stage and are supporting the mother at all times with her choices.
The Baby Friendly Award encourages breastfeeding although it is also recognised that some mothers prefer to bottle feed. The maternity team will also show mum how to establish a strong bond with her baby by having maximum skin-to-skin contact and showing the mother how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond.
Helen Knower, Head of Midwifery at the Trust said: “We are so proud that Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been recognised as being a Baby Friendly service by Unicef. All our staff have worked so hard and they all want to do everything they can for our mums and their babies so being recognised by Unicef is a great credit to everyone who has made it possible.
“Most new mums want to breastfeed so staff will both support and encourage them to do this as there are many health benefits both for the mother and the baby.”
Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of serious illnesses such as gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life. For the mother it reduces the risk of some cancers.
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