Support for breastfeeding mothers in Calderdale to help ensure babies get the best possible start in life has achieved an international gold standard.
Calderdale Maternity and Health Visiting services have jointly been awarded The Baby Friendly Achieving Sustainability Gold Award by Unicef – the first joint maternity and health visiting Gold award in England.
The services work together to provide parents across Calderdale with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their baby and to feed their baby in ways which will best support health and development.
Colleagues from the service were commended for their hard work in achieving the Gold standard with a visit from the Mayor of Calderdale, Councillor Dot Foster.
The Unicef assessment of the service said that both Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (which provides the Maternity element) and Locala (which provides Health Visiting through the Calderdale Public Health Early Years Service, commissioned by Calderdale Council) “are highly commended for the quality of the evidence submitted and the thorough way in which the necessary processes to embed and further develop care related to the Baby Friendly standards has been planned and implemented.”
The assessors added: “There is an excellent specialist service in place and there is evidence of integrated working within the community, to ensure that babies, mothers and their families receive seamless care. Of particular note is the peer support programme and Baby Cafes which are well evaluated, and effective monitoring suggests they are helping to support a rise in breastfeeding prevalence rates.”
The award comes during World Breastfeeding Week which runs from 1st to 7th August. The theme of this year’s Awareness Week is empowering parents and ensuring policies, legislation and workplaces are parent-friendly.
Head of Midwifery, Joyce Ayre, said:
“CHFT, Locala Calderdale Health Visiting and Peer Support Network are celebrating the achievement of reaching Gold across both Maternity and Health Visiting Services. The first in the country.
“CHFT is also one of only seven trusts in England to achieve the Baby Friendly Initiative Gold sustainability award. CHFT is a long standing Unicef BFI accredited Organisation and achieving Gold sustainability status is due to great teamwork, the commitment of all staff who provide the best standard of infant feeding care and the commitment and leadership of our Infant Feeding Advisors.”
Alison Walklate, Locala Health Visitor and Lead on Infant Feeding, added they were delighted that the hard work over recent years to create a seamless service for mums and babies had been recognised by Unicef:
“To be the first joint service in the country to be awarded Gold status is a major achievement for us and shows that in Calderdale the partnership working is offering the right support for parents and their children.”
Cllr Dot Foster, the Mayor of Calderdale, said:
“As a mum, and as a former breastfeeding peer supporter, I know what a difference breastfeeding can make to a baby’s start in life. The first 1000 days of life are the most important in a child’s development, and breastfeeding can have a lifelong positive effect on their health.
“For all mums, the right support is vital. Breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be challenging. The support and guidance offered to all mums in Calderdale has now been recognised as outstanding, and I am delighted that the hard work of the Midwifery and Health Visiting teams, and the network of peer supporters has been formally recognised.”
For more information on World Breastfeeding Week please visit www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org(external link)