Model and actress Lily Cole has thanked midwives at St Thomas’ Hospital who gave her the confidence to breastfeed.
She returned to the hospital, where she recently received postnatal care, to present the maternity team with the internationally renowned UNICEF Baby Friendly Award.
“I was so grateful to be in an environment where I was constantly helped to learn how to breastfeed”
The Baby Friendly Initiative – set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organization – works with UK public services to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding in order to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships.
Speaking at the presentation, Ms Cole said: “The care I received at St Thomas’ Hospital was wonderful. I was in hospital for two days after the birth and I had no idea how to breastfeed.
“I was so grateful to be in an environment where I was constantly helped to learn how to breastfeed,” she said.
She added: “I couldn’t do it without help at first, but by the time I left I had the confidence to feed my baby at home on my own – and it has been easy ever since.”
Lynne Pacanowski, director of Midwifery at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, says: “We were delighted to welcome Lily back to St Thomas’ to help us celebrate achieving baby friendly status.
“Her experience, and the experience of many of our other new mothers, is testament to the commitment of our dedicated breastfeeding midwives who have worked so hard to ensure our unit meets the highest UNICEF baby friendly standards.”
“We are delighted that Guy’s and St Thomas’ has achieved full baby friendly status”
The Baby Friendly Award is given to hospitals after an assessment by a UNICEF team to ensure best practice standards are in place.
The standards are designed to provide parents with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their baby and to feed their baby, whether by breast or bottle, in a calm and positive environment.
Anne Woods, deputy programme director at UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative, said: “We are delighted that Guy’s and St Thomas’ has achieved full baby friendly status.
“Our surveys show that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need,” she said. “Mothers at St Thomas’ can be confident that the staff will provide the highest standards of care.”