Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has achieved the highest level of Baby Friendly accreditation awarded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The award follows months of testing and an external visit by UNICEF’s team of assessors to the trust last December.
Both of the trust’s maternity units were assessed against a range of criteria relating to antenatal care, keeping mothers and babies together, breastfeeding, and providing practical information and support to mothers in their chosen feeding method.
“Our aim now is to maintain and continuously improve these high standards”
The award was presented to the trust’s staff at the end of April by Anne Woods, UNICEF’s UK deputy programme director for the Baby Friendly Initiative.
Ms Woods said: “Doncaster and Bassetlaw mothers can be assured of the best possible support and advice in feeding and caring for their babies and to strengthen the mother-baby bond.”
The Baby Friendly Initiative is a worldwide programme which supports health services to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, and encourage the development of close and loving relationships between parents and infants.
Achieving full accreditation is the result of over five year’s work since the trust first registered its commitment to the initiative in 2008.
It has worked through the three levels of accreditation and received the UNICEF Stage 1 accreditation in April 2009, followed by Stage 2 in February 2011 and the highest, Stage 3 in January 2014.
Richard Parker, the trust’s director of nursing, midwifery and quality, said this award is a signifier of “the long journey” the trust took to become a fully accredited Baby Friendly trust.
“Our aim now is to maintain and continuously improve these high standards for all the women who use our maternity services,” he said.
Mr Parker added: “All credit goes to our infant feeding coordinators Elaine Merrills and Susan Henderson, and their manager Debbie McKnight.”