Neonatal services at the Trust become first in London to be awarded UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Award

The Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme which aims to transform healthcare for babies, their mothers and families as part of a wider global partnership between UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).  

As part of the accreditation, our neonatal services at St Mary’s Hospital and Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital underwent a tough assessment by UNICEF assessors. Teams were able to demonstrate excellent working practices to encourage breastfeeding which has recognised health benefits for both babies and their mothers and supports mothers in bonding with their new-born baby. 

Annie Aloysius, clinical speech and language therapist in neonatology and BFI lead, said: "This award from the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to support breastfeeding and improve care for all our mothers.  

"Breast milk helps protect preterm babies against infection, is easy to digest and helps prevent necrotising enterocolitis. It provides vital nutrition and supports optimal neurodevelopmental outcomes.  

“We set out to ensure that all mothers and babies are supported to be partners in their baby's care and form a close and loving relationship – whatever their choice of feeding method – as this is the best start for every baby.” 

Shereen Fisher, UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director, said: "We are delighted that Imperial College Healthcare’s neonatal service has achieved full Baby Friendly status.  

“Our work to support breastfeeding is based on extensive and resounding evidence that breastfeeding saves lives, improves health and cuts costs in every country worldwide, rich and poor alike. Mothers at Imperial College Healthcare’s neonatal service can be confident that staff will provide high standards of care.”