Health professionals in Gloucestershire have achieved “baby friendly” status for their support for breastfeeding and nutrition.
Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, whose health visitors and nursery nurses offer care and support to all children aged up to five, has recently been awarded the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative Accreditation Stage 2.
The initiative is a worldwide programme to promote and support breastfeeding and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships.
The award follows nearly two years of work and training for staff by Pauline Holden and Sarah Biddlecombe, the trust’s infant feeding leads.
The trust employs over 100 health visitors and 32 nursery nurses covering the whole of Gloucestershire. It also runs Well Baby clinics each month in various locations including children’s centres and health clinics across the county.
Achieving the required UNICEF standard also involved training staff so that breastfeeding is encouraged and supported at all of the trust’s sites, including its seven community hospitals.
Ms Holden said: “Sarah and I have been involved in training all the health visitors, nursery nurses and other colleagues.
“It is fantastic to receive this award, which recognises our commitment as a Trust to support mums to breastfeed.”
UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative has three stages of accreditation which build from establishing breastfeeding policies, through staff training to an assessment of parent’s experience with services.
Gloucestershire Care Services achieved the first stage of accreditation in 2011 and is planning to reach the third and final stage in 2015.