A SUTTON couple is campaigning to buy beds so birth partners can sleep-over at Airedale Hospital after their partners have given birth.

Richard and Emma Smith hope to raise £5,500 for fold-out beds and reclining chairs so parents can stay together with their new-born babies.

The pair have already raised £1,655 through donations from family, friends and fellow parents who have had babies at Airedale’s maternity unit.

Richard and Emma, whose son Reuben was born at Airedale last summer, launched their appeal after hearing the hospital had been forced to take out its existing fold-out beds.

Richard said: “They were getting really old, breaking and just becoming a general hazard.

“Hospital staff have managed to find a few reclining chairs, which satisfies their immediate need, but they still have a desire to place a fold-out bed or reclining chair in every side room.

“I set up the fundraising to help them reach this goal so birth partners can stay over to support new mums after the baby is born. That first night together is so important.

“Being able to stop over to support my partner when my son was born six months ago was both really special and important to us both.

“Not only did it give us incredibly special time bonding as a family, but it enabled me to be there to support my partner both physically and emotionally - for any of you that have kids you’ll know what a tiring whirlwind this time is!

“We are hoping to raise enough money to provide a fold out bed or recliner chair in every side room on the maternity ward.”

Richard and Emma plan to organise local events such as dress-down days and a kickstart Airedale to boost the fund, and welcome anyone else organising events.

An Airedale Hospital spokesman said that having to temporary remove beds from the ward had understandably had an impact on families on the postnatal ward.

The spokesman added: “We understand the importance of bonding as a family after having a baby, so having beds available for partners to stay over after their baby’s birth was a great addition to the maternity services we provide here at Airedale – many hospitals are not able to provide this service.” 

Richard said that having a bed was a godsend for him for the “little bit of sleep” he had managed to get after his and’s son had been born.

He said: “You can’t imagine the faff of trying to blow up an airbed or having to lug extra stuff.”

On the Smiths’ Just Giving page, parents making donations have added their own comments about how useful beds and reclining chairs are.

Visit justgiving.com/agh-maternity to donate to Emma and Richard’s appeal.

One mother said: “Both labours it was amazing having my husband afterward, a real reason go choose Airedale over other hospitals.”

Another said: “Our son spent some time in neonatal and it was a huge comfort to know my husband didn’t have to leave us. He was able to stay for four nights so we could support one another. A godsend!”

And a third wrote: “I feel its very important to have the support of your partner at this very special and sometimes difficult time.”

Another person told the Smiths: “I hope you reach the target - it will be really appreciated by future mums and dads and am sure it will take pressure off the staff not having to explain about not being able to let people stay.”