Trust first in the world to achieve Unicef ‘Baby Friendly’ Gold standard

Date: 22 September 2017

Baby Friendly

East Lancashire has become the first area in the world to receive the prestigious Baby Friendly Initiative Gold Standard from the United Nations Children’s Fund UK (Unicef). This accolade is in recognition of the excellent advice and support families with new babies in East Lancashire receives around nurturing and feeding their babies.

Families from Blackburn to Barnoldswick, the Ribble Valley down to Rossendale and every town in between today benefit from ‘baby’ friendly’ standards that have been pioneered across East Lancashire for the past 20 years.

Mrs Rineke Schram, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s Baby Friendly Guardian and Consultant Obstetrician, said: “The ‘Achieving Sustainability’ standard is hugely important for the Trust and, most importantly, for the women, children and families we serve.”

“Children need a healthy start in life if they are to become healthy adults. Good child’s health means providing the right conditions for their growth and development and East Lancashire Hospitals and our partners have worked closely with Unicef for many years to achieve this high standard.

“In particular, I want to acknowledge the immense efforts of our Infant Feeding Coordinator Sue Henry, her team and all maternity staff in reaching a standard never before achieved."

The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative supports breastfeeding and parent infant relationships by working with public services to improve standards of care.

Infant feeding staff across East Lancashire have been following Unicef Baby Friendly best practice for 20 years and during that time there has been a breastfeeding revolution among local mums.

Queens Park Hospital first became a Baby Friendly site back in November 1998, followed by Burnley General Teaching Hospital in December 2010.

“On behalf of Unicef UK, I want to congratulate everyone at East Lancashire Hospitals on this excellent achievement and for accreditation as our first Gold Service,” said Unicef UK Baby Friendly Director, Sue Ashmore.

“East Lancashire Hospitals’ Baby Friendly leads have a strong vision of how they can make sure standards of care are maintained and developed and clearly have the backing of a strong and engaged leadership team.”

“We know that the first days and weeks of a child’s life can determine their future, which is why we’re working in public services to help new parents give their babies the love, care and nourishment they need to get the best start in life. The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative works with health professionals – from midwives to neonatal nurses to health visitors – to make sure new mums get expert support to nurture and feed their baby, whenever they need it.”

“We’re over the moon that East Lancashire achieved the Unicef Baby Friendly ‘Gold’ standard with flying colours,” says East Lancashire Hospitals’ Infant Feeding Coordinator, Sue Henry.

“Becoming  a ‘baby friendly’ region is about so much more than breastfeeding, although we cannot underestimate the effect breastfeeding has on the long term health of babies and mothers, and the public health implications.”

Back in the 1970s, only 27 per cent of local mums were breastfeeding eight weeks after birth; today, the breastfeeding figure in Blackburn with Darwen is 76 per cent.

“The team have worked so hard and to hear the inspectors use phrases such as ‘this is our dream’, ‘very little to recommend’ and ‘respectful towards mothers and families’ was music to our ears,” added Sue. 

The golden Unicef Baby Friendly logo will now be seen across Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire

  • Summary:

    East Lancashire has become the first area in the world to receive the prestigious Baby Friendly Initiative Gold Standard from the United Nations Children’s Fund UK (Unicef). 

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