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West Suffolk Hospital wins prestigious baby care award

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph Simon Parker

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph Simon Parker

Archant

A hospital has been given a prestigious award for its baby care.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) achieved the internationally-recognised Baby Friendly Award for the support it provides to mothers and their newborn children.

It included a three-stage assessment, during which inspectors said the “whole atmosphere at West Suffolk was calm and friendly” and “achieved exceptional scores”.

It added: “The team were very welcoming and all mothers reported that staff were kind and considerate, and that they were very happy with their care.”

Lynne Saunders, head of midwifery at WSFT, said: “As a trust we are always looking at ways we can improve and enhance the care parents receive.

“Many of our parents understand that breastfeeding increases their baby’s protection against a range of serious illnesses and reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers. However, some of our mothers don’t have confidence in their capability to breastfeed and choose formula feeding, or very quickly introduce formula milk.

“The Baby Friendly Initiative was an obvious choice for us as it offered constructive guidance in enabling staff to promote a mother’s confidence to breastfeed, provide infant feeding support for all breast and formula feeding women, and encourage parents as they develop a strong, loving relationship with their baby.”

The award was set up by United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“We are delighted that West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has achieved full Baby Friendly status,” said Baby Friendly Initiative programme director Sue Ashmore. “Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need.

“Mothers at West Suffolk can be confident that their staff will provide high standards of care.”

The hospital, which has around 430 beds open at any one time and serves Thetford and the surrounding area, thanked mothers who gave up their time to be interviewed and others who volunteered to do so.

What are your experiences of hospital care where you live? Write, giving your full contact details, to newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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