Health services for pregnant women and new mothers across North and North East Lincolnshire have been awarded “baby friendly” accreditation from UNICEF for promoting breastfeeding.
A range of services in the county have achieved stage three of the UK Unicef baby friendly initiative including maternity and neonatal services at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust
“It’s a reflection of the hard work our staff put in to continuously improve services”
In addition, the status has been given to the health visiting service run by Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust and those run by North East Lincolnshire Council – along with its “family hubs”.
Children’s centres run by North Lincolnshire Council have also achieved the accreditation for supporting breastfeeding.
Baby friendly accreditation has three progress stages, followed by re-accreditation achieving sustainability. Stages one and two are about getting polices and guidelines in place, while ensuring the workforce are skilled and knowledgeable about how to encourage and support breastfeeding women.
Stage three is focused on outcomes, such as parents being able to make an informed choice about their feeding method and receiving consistent support and advice on their breastfeeding “journey”. Once sustainability is judged to have been attained, a “gold” status is awarded.
“It means mums are receiving the best possible advice on breast feeding from all staff”
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole staff were commended for the “very high” standards of care pregnant women and new mothers receive, for taking every opportunity to initiate a discussion around feeding and for the “effective support” given to breast feeding mothers.
Jane Goodwin, infant feeding lead for Scunthorpe and Goole hospitals, said: “We’re delighted to have achieved the level three accreditation.
“It’s a reflection of the hard work our staff put in to continuously improve services for our local women,” she said.
Christina Harrison, a director at Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber who manages health and wellbeing service for 0-19s in North Lincolnshire, described the accreditation as a “great accolade”.
“It’s a great achievement,” she said. “It means mums are receiving the best possible advice on breast feeding from all staff who work with them in the early days and months after their baby is born.”
Lincolnshire services achieve ‘baby friendly’ accreditation
The approach taken across North and North East Lincolnshire councils in implementing the standards required was also commended by the Unicef assessors in their report.
They said there was a “robust and innovative approach” to identifying challenges, action planning and audit with excellent leadership and a workforce with a “strong passion to ensure excellent care”.
Councillor Ros James, portfolio holder for children and young people in North East Lincolnshire, said: “This is a great result that reflects the hard work that the council’s infant feeding team, health visitors and family hubs put into making the services the best they can be.
“These services are offering vital front-line support to parents and families to ensure that babies get the best possible start in life,” she said.