Oxford Health NHS FT has been awarded a Certificate of Commitment in its first step towards gaining international recognition from the UNICEF (United Nation’s Children’s Fund) Baby Friendly Initiative.
“We decided to join forces with the Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates in Oxfordshire,” said Director of Nursing for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Ros Alstead. “Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes later in life. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers. It’s also free, readily available and promotes bonding between mother and child.”
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 health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high-quality support to enable successful breastfeeding. The Certificate of Commitment recognises that a health care facility is dedicated to implementing recognised best practice standards.
“We are delighted that Oxford Health NHS FT has received this award,” 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 Oxford Health NHS FT have the satisfaction of knowing that their health visitors are aiming to provide the highest standard of care.”