THE maternity and neonatal units at Whiston Hospital have been awarded a prestigious baby friendly award from UNICEF.

Whiston Hospital is currently the only hospital in Merseyside to achieve this esteemed status.

It is the latest international recognition for the expert care and services provided by their midwives.

The award is only given to hospitals after a rigorous assessment and recognises that best practice standards are consistently being achieved.

Chief executive Ann Marr said: ‘This is a significant achievement by the maternity and neonatal services. To achieve full accreditation from UNICEF took a lot of hard work and is a major achievement for the trust.

“The results are evidence of the time and care the midwives give each and every day helping mothers to get started with breastfeeding.”

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 further improve the care provided for all mothers and babies.

The project promotes and supports breastfeeding and strengthens mother-baby and family relationships for everyone.

Staff joined forces with the UK Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to further improve care for all mothers. Over recent years the number of mothers breast feeding has continued to increase.

The trust offers help and support to all expectant and new mums and is committed to encouraging them to breast feed.