Baby's HealthcareUNICEF has once again recognised Oxford Health NHS FT’s commitment to supporting breastfeeding mums.

The trust has now gained Stage Two accreditation from UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative, which works to ensure that mothers and babies receive high quality support around breastfeeding and works to strengthen family relationships

This accreditation follows on from last year, when the trust gained a Certificate of Commitment and Stage One accreditation.

An assessment team spent two days interviewing health visitors, community staff nurses and nursery nurses working in health visitor teams about their training and the way in which they offer support to families. The assessors also spoke with a number of managers and checked out the services training plans, and policies related to infant feeding.

Sian Taylor, who is leading the project, said: “The early feedback we’ve had from the assessors has been really positive and they commented on the health visiting team’s enthusiasm and desire to support mums.

“They also praised how all our staff communicated with mums in a way that was warm and sensitive.”

She added: “The next thing for us to ensure is we have everything in place for the next phase of the process to get our Stage Three accreditation.

“This will focus on talking to parents, to ensure that BFI’s standards are being implemented for all pregnant women and new mothers our health visitors come into contact with.”

Head of Public Health Emma Leaver said: “Breastfeeding has long term benefits for babies and therefore is a crucial public health activity.

“We are delighted to have had such positive feedback following our BFI assessment , and are already planning for Stage Three.”

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.

It has also been proven to reduce the mother’s risk of some cancers, is free, readily available and promotes bonding between mother and child.

For more information on the BFI visit the UNICEF website at www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/

To watch a video about what this means, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt5CeOhFXLo