Publish date: 4 April 2024

North East healthcare trust receives prestigious accreditation from UNICEF UK

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been fully-awarded the prestigious Baby Friendly award for its commitment to increasing breastfeeding rates and improving healthcare for babies and their mothers.

The Baby Friendly Initiative, by UNICEF UK, aims toA person smiling at cameraDescription automatically generated support families with breastfeeding, respond to barriers that cause women to stop breastfeeding, and support the development of close and loving relationships between mother and baby, whichever feeding method they choose.

The award is given to NHS trusts after an assessment has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.

Building a strong foundation, allows babies to have the best start in life possible and benefit their future health and wellbeing and breastfeeding plays a key role in this.

Breastfeeding provides protection for babies against a wide range of serious illnesses both in infancy and later in life and reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers. The close bond that breastfeeding creates can also support the mental health of both mother and baby.

To implement this initiative, we have ensured our staff have a thorough understanding of infant feeding and the impact that early relationships can have on childhood development.

Claire Stringer, Infant Feeding Co-Ordinator, said: “This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire maternity team for ensuring the highest level of care is given to our families.

“The award process goes through three stages, in which we are required to supply evidence showing that we are compliant with best practice standards and making sure that women and families have access to evidence-based support is an essential part of these standards.

“The impact of this award is already evident in our breastfeeding rates and the positive feedback given by families when interviewed by the assessors. We will continue to build on this excellent progress to ensure that every Baby Northumbrian is given a chance for the best start in life.”

Katy Lissaman, Head of Midwifery, said: “The baby friendly standards have supported us to improve care as we have progressed through the stages of the programme. In doing so, we have been enabled to help mothers with infant feeding, whilst also building a close and loving relationship with their baby.

“The maternity team has worked hard to achieve this award and will continue to deliver these best practice standards to our service user families. We are extremely proud to be fully awarded by UNICEF UK.”

Media contact

Louise Alexander, Social Media and Digital Assisstant or 0191 203 1662