Parents’ experiences of neonatal services

Achieving Stage 3 of accreditation is the final step in becoming Baby Friendly. At this Stage, the care parents and babies have received will be assessed, with the following standards needing to be met.


  1. Support parents to have a close and loving relationship with their baby.
  2. Enable babies to receive breastmilk and to breastfeed when possible.
  3. Value parents as partners in care.

What you’ll need to meet the standards

More detailed information on how to meet the neonatal standards is in our Neonatal unit guidance on implementing the standards. You can also apply for accreditation jointly with other units, please see our infosheet for further guidance on this

The following materials will also be helpful in implementing the standards for Stage 3.

How we will assess the standards

Once internal audit results indicate that the standards are being achieved, the Stage 3 assessment can take place. This involves Baby Friendly assessors visiting your facility and listening to mothers’ experiences of the care they have received

Combining Stage 3 with Stage 2 or a maternity assessment

Neonatal units may prefer to combine Stage 2 with either Stage 3 for the neonatal unit or with a maternity assessment in order to achieve some cost saving. Please discuss your needs with the Baby Friendly office.

Statement on the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative and Bliss

Unicef UK and Bliss are working together to support parents and health professionals to effect positive change within neonatal units. Our aim is to put the best interests of babies at the heart of every aspect of care, following a child rights approach.

Parents have primary responsibility for their baby and we know that parents are vital to the short and long term wellbeing of all babies. We are therefore working to change culture and practice on neonatal units so that parents are enabled to take this responsibility right from the start.

We have mutually reinforcing programmes of work – the Baby Friendly Initiative and the Bliss Baby Charter – that set measurable standards for effecting change. Moving forward we are committed to using our joint expertise and resources to drive improvements at every level of policy and practice to meet parents’ and professionals’ needs.