Right Start Oldham has received international recognition from Unicef (United Nation’s Children’s Fund) by receiving the Baby Friendly Award for their work to increase breastfeeding rates and improve care for mothers.
Right Start Oldham includes services such as school nursing, health visiting, oral health and Family Nurse Partnership to support young mothers and services in the borough’s 16 children’s centres. Right Start services are provided by Bridgewater on behalf of Oldham Council.
Bridgewater’s Infant Feeding Specialist for Right Start Jo Mayall said:
“The team is extremely proud of this achievement. Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers. It’s also easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.
“At Right Start, however we are committed to supporting all mothers, regardless of how they choose to feed their babies, by helping them to form a strong loving relationship with their newborn through having maximum skin to skin contact and understanding how their baby communicates with them and how their baby needs them to respond.”
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 UK public services to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships.
Support for these relationships is important for all babies, not only those who are breastfed.
The award is given to health services after an assessment by a Unicef team has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.
“We are delighted that The Right Start Team in Oldham has achieved full Baby Friendly status,” 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 Oldham can be confident that their health visitors, community nursery nurses, children centre staff and partners will provide high standards of care.”
Councillor Eddie Moores, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Oldham Council said:
“This recognition comes as we celebrate a year of working with Bridgewater. Breastfeeding has many health benefits for mothers and babies, and Oldham Council is working to support more mothers to breastfeed through funding services such as Right Start Oldham, and by encouraging local venues, such as cafes and shops, to welcome breastfeeding.”
Find out more about Right Start Oldham at www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/oldham-health-services/.