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Posted on the 2nd March 2020

Support for breastfeeding mothers in Blackburn with Darwen to help ensure babies get the best possible start in life has achieved a coveted international award.

Health Visiting Services in Blackburn with Darwen have recently been awarded the Gold Standard Baby Friendly Award by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation.

This means that families in the borough can rest assured that the best standards in practice are in place. The services provide parents across the borough with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their babies and to feed their babies in ways which will best support health and development.

Following assessment by UNICEF, the service was handed the award as a way of recognising that best practice standards are in place.

Naomi Quinn from Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Health Visiting Services in Blackburn with Darwen, said:

“We’re delighted by this achievement. The verbal feedback from UNICEF was that the service is exemplary at a national level. This is a fantastic achievement and the team should be very proud of the work they are doing.

“We joined forces with UNICEF UK's Baby Friendly Initiative and we have been on a journey over the past few years to increase our breastfeeding rates and promote positive, loving relationships in families. We know breastfeeding helps massively to protect and improve both the physical and mental health of both mum and baby and so we have prioritised enhancing the skills and knowledge of our staff as well as looking how local communities can get involved. We want to ensure the support we provide our families in Blackburn with Darwen is evidence based, of a high quality and families are at the centre of all we do.”

Health Visiting Services in Blackburn with Darwen are run by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust’s as part of its 0-19 Universal Service offer.

Set up by UNICEF  (the United Nations’ Children’s Fund) 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.

In the UK, the Baby Friendly Initiative works with 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.