At a time when most of the health service news that we see can be pretty depressing it’s great to be able to pass on some tidings of comfort and joy for a change and it’s a special pleasure to help share the news that health services for pregnant women and new mums across North and North East Lincolnshire have been awarded the prestigious ‘baby friendly’ accreditation from UNICEF.
The services receiving stage three of the UK UNICEF baby friendly initiative include the Health Visiting Service and Family Hubs and Children’s Centres run by North East Lincolnshire Council.
The health and well-being of all babies is at the heart of these initiatives because a strong mother and baby relationship is the foundation for a baby’s future health and well-being, and breastfeeding supports this loving bond, making a vital difference to health.
Amanda Anderson, infant feeding lead for Grimsby hospital added: “We 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.”
The approach taken across North and North East Lincolnshire councils in implementing the standards required was commended by the assessors in their report. It said: “There is a robust and innovative approach to identifying challenges, action planning and audit with excellent leadership and a workforce who have a strong passion to ensure excellent care for pregnant women, new mothers and babies.”
Councillor Ros James, portfolio holder for children and young people in North East Lincolnshire, said: “This is a great result that reflects the hard work that the council’s infant feeding team, health visitors and family hubs put into making the services the best they can be. These services are offering vital front-line support to parents and families to ensure that babies get the best possible start in life.”