TAMESIDE Children’s Centres and health visiting teams have achieved an international Baby Friendly Award for providing gold standard infant feeding support.
The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF (United Nation’s Children’s Fund) 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 facilities after an assessment by UNICEF has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.
Tameside Council Early Executive Member Cllr Ged Cooney, who is responsible for health, said: “This is fantastic recognition for Tameside Children’s Centre’s, health team’s and Homestart who are working closely together to provide parents and carers with appropriate information on infant feeding - promoting breast-feeding and supporting all mother and baby relationships to help give children the best start.”
Tameside Infant Feeding Coordinator Fiona Munro-Muotune said: “We decided to join forces with UNICEF UK's Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers in Tameside.
"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 – although mums might be more interested in hearing that it is easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.
“However a mother chooses to feed her baby, she can be sure that she will be supported to form a strong loving relationship with her newborn – through having maximum skin to skin contact and understanding how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond.”
UNICEF 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 in Tameside can be confident that their health visitors and children’s centre workers will provide high standards of care.”