The Infant Feeding Team at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded the prestigious Baby Friendly Award and is the latest UK healthcare facility to win international recognition from UNICEF (the United Nations’ Children’s Fund).
Set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, the Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme that provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies. Following assessment by UNICEF, the Infant Feeding Team was handed the Award as a way of recognising that best practice standards are in place.
Katie Wharton, Infant Feeding Coordinator at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said,
“We decided to join forces with UNICEF UK`s Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers within the Northern, Central and Eastern parts of Lancashire. 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. We also know that breastfeeding reduces a mother’s risk of some cancers—although mums might be more interested in hearing that it is easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.
“A mother who chooses to breastfeed her baby can be sure that she will be supported to form a strong loving relationship with her new-born through having maximum skin to skin contact and understanding how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond.”
In the UK, the Baby Friendly Initiative works with UK public services to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, and strengthen mother-baby and family relationships. Support for these relationships is important for all babies, not only those who are breastfed.
Sue Ashmore, Programme Director of UNICEF’s UK Baby Friendly Initiative,
“We are delighted that Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust has achieved full Baby Friendly status. Surveys show that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers in the Eastern, Northern and Central parts of Lancashire can be confident that their midwives and health visitors will provide high standards of care.”