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Blackburn with Darwen Celebrates Breastfeeding as UNICEF ‘Baby Friendly’ status renewed

Blackburn with Darwen Celebrates Breastfeeding as UNICEF ‘Baby Friendly’ status renewed

Photo: Councillor Maureen Bateson presents the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly plaque to a delighted group of infant feeding staff during a special celebration event at Livesey Children’s Centre

As Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire stages Celebrate Breastfeeding Week 2019 (17-23 June, #CelebrateBreastfeeding), two of the area’s major providers of children and family services are jubilant after once again being accredited as ‘baby friendly’ organisations by UNICEF UK.

Following inspection by independent UNICEF UK assessors in March, the hard work and dedication of staff and supporters at Blackburn with Darwen Children’s Centres and Lancashire Care Foundation NHS Trust’s (LCFT) Health Visiting service have been rewarded by having their UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative status renewed.

Councillor Maureen Bateson, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said:

“I am delighted at this achievement – this is a brilliant reflection of the dedication and hard work of our Children’s Centre staff, Health Visiting Teams and great partnership working with LCFT. We are serious about supporting mums to breastfeed in Blackburn with Darwen – as our move to become a breastfeeding friendly borough in 2018 shows. Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses and we want to make sure that parents receive high-quality support and information at all times.”

Amy Nolan, Service Manager, at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are delighted to have our status as a ‘baby friendly’ organisation renewed in conjunction with celebrating National Breastfeeding Week. Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. We are so pleased mothers in Blackburn with Darwen have the satisfaction of knowing that their Midwives/Health Visitors and Children’s Centre staff are providing the highest standard of care.”

“Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes later in life. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers. We aim to ensure that all mums and babies are supported to form a strong loving relationship, whatever their choice of feeding method, as this is the best start for every baby.”

To commemorate our area’s latest ‘baby friendly’ achievement, mums, babies, health visitors, infant feeding staff and volunteers came together to celebrate at a special event held at Livesey Children’s Centre on Thursday 20 June.

Breastfeeding in Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire has made great strides in recent years. In 1991, just 27 per cent of mothers initiated breastfeeding; the current figure is 77 per cent.

Blackburn with Darwen became a breastfeeding friendly borough in 2018 and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) became the first NHS Trust in the country to achieve UNICEF Baby Friendly ‘Gold Standard’ in 2017.

East Lancashire Hospitals’ Baby Friendly Lead, Sue Henry said:

“Mums giving birth in our area can be assured that by working together to achieve and maintain the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly standard, Lancashire Care, East Lancashire Hospitals and Blackburn with Darwen Council are working hard to give them and their babies the best start in life”.

“And as we celebrate breastfeeding this week, we thank all the hundreds of staff and volunteers who give brilliant support for breastfeeding day in, day out. We know how protective breastmilk is for both the baby and the mother, and every drop really does count.”

For more information and support about starting and maintaining breastfeeding and details of local breastfeeding groups, visit www.elht.nhs.uk/services/infant-feeding