Health visiting teams in Hertfordshire have gained internationally-recognised accreditation for promoting breastfeeding in their county.
Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust’s health visiting service and Hertfordshire County Council’s children’s centres have both passed stage two of the Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation scheme.
“Staff demonstrated excellent knowledge and skills”
The accreditation demonstrates that every relevant member of staff has been trained to support breastfeeding mothers, while also providing mothers who have chosen to bottle feed with information to do this as safely as possible in a responsive manner.
The programme, run by Unicef, is based on a set of standards designed to provide parents with the best possible information to support building close and loving relationships with their baby.
It also enables parents to make informed decisions about feeding their baby and then to support those who choose to breastfeed to do so successfully.
The Hertfordshire services must pass a further two stages if they are to achieve full accreditation under the programme.
Unicef UK assessors interviewed both health visitors and children’s centre staff on how well standards had been embedded into practice.
Georgina Berg, infant feeding co-ordinator at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to have passed stage two of the initiative.
“Staff demonstrated excellent knowledge and skills in infant feeding, supporting breastfeeding mothers and strengthening relationships between mothers, babies and their families,” she said.
“The health visiting service is working towards full accreditation and is committed to supporting breastfeeding and providing high quality advice, information and support to ensure the best start in life for babies and their parents,” she added.