St Richard’s and Worthing maternity units have been awarded a certificate of commitment in their first step towards gaining recognition from the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative.
The Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme aiming to transform healthcare for babies, their mothers, and families.
In the UK, the Baby Friendly Initiative works with public services to better support families with feeding their babies in ways which will support optimum health and development, and developing close, loving relationships to ensure that all babies get the best possible start in life.
The certificate of commitment recognises that a health care facility is dedicated to implementing a set of recognised best practice standards.
Fran Humberstone, Infant Feeding Lead said: “This award is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to improve care for all mothers. Steps already taken include implementing new guidelines and comprehensive staff education. We also aim to support all parents to have positive relationships with their babies, whatever their choice of feeding method.”
The initiative’s work to support breastfeeding is based on extensive evidence that breastfeeding saves lives, improves health and cuts costs in every country worldwide.
Fran added, “Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses, including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy, as well as cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes and obesity later in life. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers, and that it supports the mental health of both mother and baby.”
Emma Chambers, Director of Midwifery said: “We are very proud to have achieved this recognition of our commitment. This clearly underlines our desire to become a fully accredited Baby Friendly maternity service – this programme helps services transform care, supporting all families with feeding and relationship building.
“A great deal of work is required by the teams to get to this stage, as well as support from the Trust Executive Board. Congratulations and thank you to the infant feeding and maternity teams who have worked so hard to make this progress.”
As part of a staged accreditation, the maternity units will be working through additional steps, including providing more resources to patients, auditing the care they give and providing on-going training to staff involved in the care of babies and their families. Once all stages are passed, the units can be accredited as Baby Friendly.