Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has been awarded a Certificate of Commitment in its first step towards gaining international recognition from the Unicef UK (United Nation’s Children’s Fund) Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI).
The trust’s Health Visiting service was proud to achieve full Baby Friendly accreditation in 2017 and the organisation is working hard to maintain this standard. Maternity Services have now started on their journey to achieving accreditation.
Full implementation of Baby Friendly Standards in the hospital as well as in the community will ensure excellent practice in the support of infant feeding and parent-infant relationships, which will benefit all Walsall families through improved health outcomes.
“We delighted to be taking steps towards full BFI accreditation. We are working towards increasing breastfeeding rates and improving care for all mothers at Walsall Manor Hospital and our Midwifery-Led Unit,” said interim Divisional Director of Midwifery Carla Jones-Charles.
“Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes later in life. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers – although mums might be more interested in hearing that it’s easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.
“We also set out to ensure that all mums and babies are supported to form a strong loving relationship – whatever their choice of feeding method – as this is the best start for every baby.”
The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by Unicef and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies. In the UK, the initiative works with health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high-quality support to enable successful breastfeeding. The Certificate of Commitment recognises that a health care facility is dedicated to implementing recognised best practice standards.
“We are delighted that Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has received this award,” said Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director Sue Ashmore. “Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers at (Walsall Manor Hospital and its Midwifery-Led Unit have the satisfaction of knowing that their midwives/health visitors are aiming to provide the highest standard of care.”
The trust is hoping to schedule its Stage 1 assessment in Spring 2020.