Northampton hospital given award by global children's charity for top baby care

Northampton General Hospital is celebrating being accredited by UNICEF UK as being a 'baby friendly' hospital for the second time.
Northampton General Hospital is celebrating being accredited by UNICEF UK as being a 'baby friendly' hospital for the second time.

Northampton General Hospital has been accredited by UNICEF UK for being a 'baby friendly' hospital for the second time.

This award recognises the hospital care for mothers and babies, the information parents receive about breastfeeding and the support given to patients.

Kate Bates, infant feeding co-ordinator, explained how this accreditation will benefit patients: “We find that staff are now confident in helping parents not be afraid of spoiling their baby by holding and cuddling them and parents seem really happy to learn how close, loving relationships are so beneficial for their baby’s brain development."

Officers from UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative were impressed by the high level of care mothers reported and the confidence they had gained in breastfeeding their babies.

Mothers were also quick to praise the maternity team throughout the report.

One mother cited the impact their breastfeeding support had during her time in the hospital.

She said: “Everyone I came into contact with was just lovely, my community midwife was exceptional I wouldn’t still be breastfeeding if it wasn’t for her."

Another mother praised the support for skin-to-skin contact and bonding.

She said: “My labour was a surprise and everything happened so fast. Once I had delivered I felt completely disconnected from my babies even though I had talked to them in pregnancy. I had skin to skin with one of my sons the same day he was born, and have had skin contact with them both every day since. It made everything right again, and I am so very grateful for that."

The inspection process combines tests and interviews about the knowledge levels of staff on a range of topics such as breastfeeding, skin to skin contact and the support offered to mothers throughout pregnancy and post-birth.

During the visit, mothers are also asked about their experience of the hospital and the support they have been given.

The Baby Friendly Initiative provide hospitals with guidance on supporting breastfeeding and relationship-building.