Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust has again been awarded the prestigious Baby Friendly Award and is the latest UK health care facility to win international recognition from Unicef.
The Award was presented by the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Tony Skipper, on 3 May 2018 at Coventry Council House.
Carmen Baskerville, Specialist Health Visitor and Infant Feeding Lead at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: "We decided to join forces with Unicef UK's Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers in Coventry.”
Carmen added: "Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy, as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers.
“New babies have a strong need to be close to their parents as it helps them to feel safe and loved, and when babies’ needs for love and comfort are met they grow up to be more confident and secure. 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 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 UK public services to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships. Support for these relationships is important for all babies, not only those who are breastfed. The Award is given to health facilities after an assessment by a Unicef team has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.
Sue Ashmore, Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director, said: "We are delighted that Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust has achieved the re-accreditation award for UNICEF Baby Friendly status. Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust can be confident that their health visitors will provide high standards of care.”
The event also marked a double celebration as Stefania Andreea Banciu graduated as a breastfeeding peer support volunteer. Stefania said: “My daughter is now 20 months old and she's still breastfed. We had a very difficult start because I had no information about breastfeeding, positioning and attachment and my daughter also had tongue tie. I truly believe that breastfeeding is not just about food. As Carmen (Baskerville) used to say, it is their first immunisation; it is the gold liquid that save lives every day. But it is also about love.
“Before long we were both confident about breastfeeding, so I decided to support other mothers. So here I am. It is said that a journey is made from a thousand steps and this certificate is my first of many. I would like to say a huge thank you to Carmen and the Infant Feeding Team for all their support.”
For further information about infant feeding, contact the Coventry Breastfeeding Service on 07904 984620 or email BreastfeedingSupport@coventry.gov.uk
For further information about the UNICEF Baby Friendly Programme, contact the Baby Friendly Initiative Office on 0207 375 6093 or the Unicef UK Press Office on 020 7375 6030 on email@example.com. Or visit www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly