Walsall Healthcare’s 0-5 Health Visiting (Healthy Child Programme) service has achieved the prestigious Baby Friendly Award.
The Baby Friendly Initiative, part of Unicef (United Nation’s Children’s Fund), recognises the excellent support in infant feeding and parent-infant relationships Walsall Health visiting Service offers to Walsall families.
"We decided to implement the initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers in Walsall,” said Caroline Mansell, Baby Friendly Implementation Manager.
"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 the mother’s risk of some cancers – many Moms locally are also interested to hear that it is cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding."
"But however a mother chooses to feed her baby she can be sure that she will be supported to form a strong loving relationship with her newborn through skin to skin contact and understanding how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond,” added Lindsey Perry, Specialist Health Visitor for Infant Feeding.
Qadar Zada, Director of Operations for Women’s and Children’s Clinical Support Services said: “This accreditation is so important because working to these standards ensures the best infant feeding support for all Walsall families. I congratulate the team on their hard work and am delighted to say we offer such high levels of care.”
And It’s not just the professionals who think this is a marvellous achievement; Service user and mum of four Rebecca Jackson says she had ‘brilliant’ care following the birth of her twins Thomas and Ethan in May. “With premature babies it can often be challenging and uncertain at times” explained Rebecca. “We were offered lots of support including breastfeeding advice; it was something I’d always been nervous about.”
Six months down the line, Rebecca, who lives in Leamore, is confidently breastfeeding thanks to the service. “The service really deserves this award as it proves that they are getting recognised for the fantastic work they are doing.”
Adrienne Tomlinson, Service user and daughter of Specialist Lead Lindsey Perry, has also praised the team’s dedication and commitment.
“This is my mum’s passion – not just her job; I’ve seen first-hand how hard she and the team have worked and what goes on behind the scenes too,” explained Adrienne. “This accreditation means that mothers and their families can really have confidence in the service they are receiving. The most common phrase used is “You’re doing really well, you should be proud” so I’d like to say that back to them in the light of this award – well done everyone!”