TV presenter Laura Hamilton joined staff from the maternity units at Epsom and St Helier on Friday (17 April), to help them celebrate being officially awarded UNICEF’s Baby Friendly accreditation.
The award, which was presented to the maternity teams by UNICEF representative Anne Strong, recognises high standards in encouraging and supporting new mums to bond with their babies and make the best choice in how to feed their newborn.
Anne and Laura (who is eight months pregnant with her second baby), met with Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles, Head of Midwifery Sally Sivas and Infant Feeding Advisor Sue Taylor for a tour of the maternity unit at St Helier before going on to the plaque presentation and cutting of the cake.
Place in the Sun presenter Laura, said: “As mum to Rocco, who’s 17 months, and with another baby due in three weeks, I know how precious the bond between a parent and child can be. It’s important that all parents get the support and help that they need to feed and bond with their new baby, and think it’s great that Epsom and St Helier are doing that so well.
“I really enjoyed looking round the maternity facilities and meeting staff, too – I was delighted to attend the special event.”
Chief Executive Daniel said: “It was an honour to welcome Laura, Rocco and Anne to our hospitals, and I would like to thank them for taking the time to come and help us celebrate this wonderful achievement.
“We are very proud to have been given full accreditation by UNICEF, and I would like to thank all of the staff in our maternity units for their hard work.”
In presenting the award, Anne said: “Achieving full accreditation from UNICEF is a difficult task, and it requires complete commitment from staff across the maternity team. The standards we expect to see are very high, and I would like to congratulate the team for achieving them.
“Helping new parents to bond with and feed their baby isn’t just about offering instructions – the staff here are passionate about supporting new parents and make sure their needs are at the heart of what they do.”
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 and maintain the best standards of care for all mothers and babies. In the UK, the initiative works with UK public services to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding, safe bottle feeding and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships.