Baby-friendly is best for Northumberland
Specialist services to support women in Northumberland to breastfeed have received international recognition.
Support provided by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s health visitors and infant feeding teams in the community and in Sure Start centres was awarded the Baby Friendly Award from UNICEF (United Nation’s Children’s Fund) and classed as “outstanding”.
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 the care provided for all mothers and babies.
The accreditation was awarded after an assessment which included interviews with health visitors and pregnant women and mothers.
Janet Leigh, health visitor professional and management lead at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be awarded the accreditation and to be named “outstanding” is truly an excellent achievement.
“It is all credit to the team of health visitors who provide top quality support to help women across Northumberland to breastfeed their new-born babies every day.
“The inspectors said the women they interviewed were overwhelming positive about their experiences of support they had received which is great news.
“They also said they’d heard many examples of women who said they had experienced difficulties breastfeeding and would have given it up had it not been for the care they received from our health visitors.”
Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life. It also reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers
The Baby Friendly Initiative works with UK public services to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships.
Sue Ashmore, Baby Friendly Initiative programme director, said: “We are delighted that Northumberland has achieved full Baby Friendly status.
“Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers in Northumberland can be confident that their health visitors will provide high standards of care.”
Northumbria Healthcare, which also provides breastfeeding support to women in hospital, works with a series of breastfeeding support groups across the county.