Health visitors and staff from Warrington’s integrated service for 0 to 19 year olds celebrated retaining the prestigious Unicef Baby Friendly Award at a special event with mums and babies at the Great Sankey Bosom Buddy group.
The award follows the Baby Friendly inspection earlier this year, which looked at how mothers are informed and supported with their feeding choices and the support given to build relationships with their new baby.
Health Visiting services are part of the 0 to 19 service, provided by Bridgewater, and were awarded the highest level after performing well in many areas of the inspection.
Staff from the service were joined by public health teams and the borough’s infant feeding lead as well as Warrington’s army of volunteer Bosom Buddies to mark the Baby Friendly re-accreditation from Unicef (United Nations Children’s Fund).
The event was also an opportunity to thank the Bosom Buddies for all their work to support new mums.
The celebration event showcased the Unicef Baby Friendly award and was combined with a coffee morning which raised £100 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The inspectors’ report said: “The staff at Warrington Health Visiting Service are commended for their hard work over the last two years in continuing to support mothers. It was clear to the assessment team in most areas pregnant women and new mothers receive a high standard of care.”
Sharon Brown, Infant Feeding Coordinator for Bridgewater said: “I am pleased that Unicef has commented so positively on the care that our Bridgewater health visitors and breastfeeding peer supporters provide to families in Warrington. The assessors also visited a number of the children’s centres in Warrington and were very impressed with the welcoming atmosphere they provide for families.
“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 are committed to supporting all mothers, regardless of how they choose to feed their babies by helping them to form a loving relationship with their baby, through having maximum skin to skin contact and understanding how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond.”
The Warrington 0-19 Integrated Children’s Service includes health visiting, school nursing, family nurse partnership, oral health improvement, breast feeding volunteer support, immunisation and national child measurement programme, working together for the health and wellbeing of young people.
“We are delighted that Bridgewater has achieved 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 can be confident that their health visitors at Bridgewater will provide high standards of care.”
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 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 providers and hospitals after an assessment by a Unicef team has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.