UNICEF declares Musgrove a baby friendly hospital - 03 August 2016

UNICEF declares Musgrove a baby friendly hospital - 03 August 2016

Maternity services at Musgrove Park Hospital have been recognised as baby friendly by world children’s charity, UNICEF.

The hospital has been rated as a stage 3 baby friendly initiative (BFI) accredited hospital for its efforts to promote breastfeeding, which is the highest award possible.

It follows a visit by a team of assessors from UNICEF last month, who found out first hand from parents and staff all about the level of breastfeeding support and advice given to new mums at Musgrove.

Assessors found that midwives and maternity staff positively supported mums and babies with their infant feeding decisions. They also said they witnessed staff actively encouraging the development of close and loving relationships between parents and their babies.

The news is timely as World Breastfeeding Week takes place this week (1-6 August) where people are being asked to think about how breastfeeding might help their babies’ wellbeing from the start of their lives.

Musgrove met all five UNICEF standards to gain the BFI accreditation: 

  • The support given to pregnant women to recognise the importance of breastfeeding and early relationships for the health and wellbeing of their baby.
  • Support for all mothers and babies to initiate a close relationship and feeding soon after birth.
  • Helping mothers to get breastfeeding off to a good start.
  • Supporting mothers to make informed decisions about the introduction of food or fluids other than breastmilk.
  • Supporting parents to have a close and loving relationship with their baby.

Debra Young, head of midwifery and children’s services at Musgrove Park Hospital, said being reaccredited as a baby friendly hospital was a great accolade to the outstanding midwifery, maternity and neonatal teams.

“The feedback we had from the visiting UNICEF team was that we have a positive, friendly and open culture about infant feeding,” she said.

“At Musgrove we actively remind our staff of the health outcomes of breastfeeding and how crucial a part they play in supporting mothers to breastfeed successfully.

“We know that more than 4 in 5 new mums in Somerset start breastfeeding their baby, but less than half are still breastfeeding after six weeks. We want to do everything we can to support mums in making the best decisions that will benefit them and their baby.

“We are proud to be a baby friendly hospital and are determined to make sure mums and babies cared for at Musgrove get off to the best possible start in life together.”

It is the second time that Musgrove has achieved the highest BFI award, having reached stage 3 at the last UNICEF assessment in 2013.

The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme.

In the UK, the initiative works with health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high-quality support to facilitate successful breastfeeding.

The award is given to maternity services after a rigorous assessment by a UNICEF team showed that recognised best practice standards were in place.