Sefton has achieved the prestigious international Baby Friendly Award from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) for their commitment, support and dedication to helping women breastfeed. Committed staff and volunteers from the Health Visiting Service, Children’s Centres, Healthy Living Centres and the Breast Start peer support service across the borough, were awarded the accolade following a three year rigorous assessment process.
The process involved professionals being interviewed and assessed. Mums-to -be and new mothers were asked about their experience and the care they had received in over thirty different areas of breastfeeding.
More than 80% of mothers reported that they had been educated and supported in each area examined.
Dr Janet Atherton, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are delighted to receive this award it confirms to us that mothers in Sefton have the satisfaction of knowing their Health Visiting Service, Children’s Centres, Healthy Living Centres and the Breast Start peer support service are aiming to provide the highest standard of care.
“By achieving the final stage of the award we know mothers are being helped to breastfeed, given useful and accurate information and that pregnant women and parents are supported to build relationships with their baby.”
Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Older People and Health, added: “This is great news for our staff who have worked so hard to achieve this award. This award shows our commitment to encouraging women to breastfeed for their health and the health of their children and that we have great staff to offer encouragement and support.”
UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, established the Baby Friendly Initiative to enable organisations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding and strengthen mother –baby and family relationships.
Monica Clarkson, Sefton’s Infant Feeding Coordinator, said: “In Sefton we work hard to encourage women to breastfeed and it’s a real honour for this hard work to be recognised through the award.
“We offer advice and support to help women breastfeed because we know it protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses 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 its easier, cheaper and less hassle than bottle feeding.”
For more information on the benefits of breastfeeding, health advice and support available to mums and babies visit www.amazingbreastmilk.nhs.uk
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