Baby-friendly is best for NHS Dumfries and Galloway Health Visiting Services

Baby FriendlyNHS Dumfries and Galloway Health Visiting Services have been re-accredited as UNICEF UK Baby Friendly, demonstrating continued high quality care for babies, their mothers and families. It is the latest UK health care facility to win international recognition from UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Fund). The Award was presented by Anne Tainsh, UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Professional Officer for Scotland on Thursday 8th March 2018 at The Willows Children, Young People and Family Centre, The Crichton, Dumfries.

"We decided to join forces with UNICEF UK's Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers accessing Health Visiting Services,” said Pamela McQuaker, Nurse Manager, Women, Children’s and Sexual Health Services Directorate.

"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 mothers might be more interested in hearing that it is easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding,” added Veronica King, Health and Wellbeing Specialist, Women, Children’s and Sexual Health Services Directorate.

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

The UK 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 NHS Dumfries and Galloway Health Visiting Services after an assessment by a UNICEF UK team has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.

"We are delighted that the Health Visiting Service has achieved Full Re-accreditation Baby Friendly status," said UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Professional Officer for Scotland, Anne Tainsh. “Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers at NHS Dumfries and Galloway Women, Children’s and Sexual Health Services Directorate can be confident that their Health Visitor Teams will provide high standards of care.”

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