About us

Baby Friendly Award delivered to Southend Hospital

31 October 2016

Health Care

The Maternity Unit at Southend University Hospital has been awarded the prestigious Baby Friendly Award and is the latest UK health care facility to win international recognition from UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund).

The Award is given to health facilities, hospitals and universities after an assessment by a UNICEF team has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.

The hospital joined Unicef UK's Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and improve care for all mothers at Southend. The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies.

Julie Newby, Infant Feeding Advisor at the hospital, said: "We would like to thank everyone for their hard work, encouragement and commitment to gain this award. Achieving this is evidence that we have improved the care for all mothers and babies within Maternity Services.

"Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother's risk of some cancers.

"However a mother chooses to feed her baby, she can be sure that she will be supported to form a strong loving relationship with her newborn - through having maximum skin-to-skin contact and understanding how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond."

Sue Ashmore, Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director, said: "We are delighted that Southend Hospitalhas achieved full Baby Friendly status. Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don't always get the support they need. Mothers at Southend can be confident that their midwives will provide high standards of care."