Community Trust services work towards breastfeeding accreditation

Posted: June 20 2016

Health visitors are promoting their efforts to achieve UNICEF accreditation for National Breastfeeding Celebration Week

Community Trust services work towards breastfeeding accreditation

From left: Infant Feeding Coordinators at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, Elaine Smith and Georgina Berg.

The week from 18 – 27 June is concentrating on how ‘everyone in local communities can support mothers to breastfeed, whenever and wherever they are.’

Health visitors and infant feeding coordinators at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) are working towards being accredited with the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Award.

The Baby Friendly Programme 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.

Georgina Berg, Infant Feeding Coordinator, said: “We are assessed against how well we have embedded four separate UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Health Visiting Standards into our practice to gain official accreditation. We are soon to be assessed for stage two of this process.

“The celebration week acts as a great opportunity to promote the support available to mums-to-be and new mums to help them successfully breastfeed.

“There is so much evidence to show that breastfeeding is best for babies, protecting them from infections and diseases and helping to establish a close and loving relationship with their mother.”

Elaine Smith, Infant Feed Coordinator, said: “The role of our local health visitors is to offer support, care and encouragement to families through the early years from pregnancy and birth to primary school. Supporting mothers to breastfeed is one important element of this.”

Babies who breastfeed are at a lower risk of:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Respiratory infections
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 and 2 diabetes
  • Allergies such as asthma and lactose intolerance.

Research suggests the longer a mother breastfeeds, the greater their protection against breast and ovarian cancer, and hip fractures in later life.

HCT will support the week on social media by sharing local resources and advice via @HCTNHS using #celebratebreastfeeding

If you are a journalist or media representative requiring further information contact our communications team on (01707) 388148 or via communications@hct.nhs.uk