Causeway area gets UNICEF Baby Friendly Award

The greater Causeway area of the Northern Trust was recently presented with a UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) Baby Friendly Award.  The Award accredits facilities that adopt internationally recognised standards of best practice in the care of mothers and babies. 

Coleraine, Ballymoney and Ballycastle Health Centre have been accredited along with SureStart partnerships in Coleraine, Dalriada and Cookstown.

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.

"We decided to apply for the UNICEF UK's Baby Friendly Initiative as the best practice standards have been proven to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers in the Northern Trust,” said Sinéad Lynch, Breastfeeding Co-ordinator for the Northern Trust.

"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 – although mums might be more interested in hearing that it is easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding,” added Sinéad.

“But 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 new-born – through having maximum skin to skin contact and understanding how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond.”

The Award was presented by Janet Calvert, Regional Breastfeeding Lead with the Public Health Agency on Friday 21st June at Ballymoney Health Centre. Speaking at the event Janet said “I am delighted to present this award which recognises the commitment within the Causeway Area to ensuring all mothers receive high standards of breastfeeding information and support. This success shows what can be achieved when management and staff work in partnership to ensure women are well supported to get off to the best start with feeding and caring for their baby”.

In the UK, the Baby Friendly 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, hospitals and universities after an assessment by a UNICEF team has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.

"We are delighted that this sector has achieved full Baby Friendly status," said Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director, Sue Ashmore. “Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers in the Northern Trust can be confident that their midwives and health visitors will provide high standards of care.”

Representatives from Cookstown Surestart with Janet Calvert, Regional Breastfeeding Lead with the Public Health Agency and Sinead Lynch, Breastfeeding Co-ordinator for the Northern Trust

Page last updated:04 July 2013