Southmead Hospital retains Baby Friendly status for 11th year

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Southmead Hospital has received UNICEF UK Baby Friendly status for the 11th year.

The initiative recognises the efforts of maternity staff in supporting mothers with feeding their new baby.

Southmead Hospital first gained Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation in 2005 and has retained it ever since. It was followed in 2007 by St Michael’s Hospital and NHS Bristol in 2010, which led to Bristol becoming the first Baby Friendly City in the UK.

All maternity staff at Southmead Hospital are trained in the Baby Friendly standards and receive ongoing training to help them support mothers.

Southmead Hospital has retained Baby Friendly status for the 11th year

Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife Marion Copeland, said: “It is definitely a team effort, with midwifery, neonatal staff and doctors working collaboratively, and across the city as well.

“We have a very good network of breastfeeding support groups throughout Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, which is really helpful for us because it means mothers can go on to other support when they leave our care.”

Marion said North Bristol NHS Trust has adopted Baby Friendly Initiative because it is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence but also because it helps new mums to breastfeed.

“We want babies to be breastfed for as long as possible, for at least six months but ideally up to two years, as that gives the best health and development outcomes for babies,” she said.

“It's about helping mothers get off to a good start with feeding their baby and supporting them to respond to their baby’s needs. The excellent support in Bristol helps mothers to keep going.”

She added that the team is particularly good at promoting skin to skin contact between mums and babies after births, with this happening 99% of the time, including after Caesarean sections.

“I'm just very impressed that everyone has sustained the Baby friendly standards for 11 years. It is an excellent achievement and something  to be very proud of,” Marion said.

“It is because of the commitment and dedication of all maternity, neonatal and community staff. A great team.”