Staff from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust’s maternity unit celebrated their achievement of full Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation this month.
The award is given to health facilities after an assessment by UNICEF has shown that recognised standards of best practice are in place to improve the care provides for all mothers and babies.
Taking just over four years to complete, the programme started with training for all staff groups involved with the care of mothers and babies.
Policies and guidelines were revised in order to support the Baby Friendly standards and all staff groups were trained to ensure they worked within these guidelines.
“We are delighted that we have now achieved full Baby Friendly status”
Trust head of midwifery Sue Stock said: “This is very prestigious for maternity services and is the result of a lot of hard work by our very committed team over years not months.
“It could not be a better example of the maternity department working with our colleagues in the primary care setting to ensure that families receive consistent and accurate support with infant feeding,” she said.
Clare Potter, one of the lead midwives for the project, added: “We have worked hard as a team to protect promote and support breastfeeding and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships, and we are delighted that we have now achieved full Baby Friendly status.
“The work doesn’t stop now that we have achieved the award. To maintain accreditation, UNICEF requires audit results showing compliance with the policy on an annual basis and fully re-assess in two years’ time.”
Established in 1992, the Baby Friendly Initiative is a worldwide programme of the World Health Organization and UNICEF that aims to encourage maternity units to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and to practice in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.