13 July 2010Bristol is the first city in England to be awarded ‘Baby Friendly’ status by the World Health Organisation, in recognition that both maternity units and community staff have reached the exacting standards required by UNICEF to promote and protect breastfeeding. The achievement will be honoured at a ceremony on Tuesday July 13th at NHS Bristol when Anne Milton, Under Secretary of State for Public Health, will present the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative community breastfeeding award in celebration of Bristol becoming the first 'Baby Friendly City' in England.
Health care staff in the maternity hospitals and Primary Care Trust have received UNICEF/WHO Baby Friendly Initiative training in breastfeeding support and management. The impact of this programme was evaluated by Dr Jenny Ingram based at the Centre.
Jenny found that significant improvements in staff breastfeeding attitudes, knowledge and self-efficacy were seen after attending the training course. The evaluation showed that breastfeeding rates at 8 weeks increased significantly after the community staff had been trained, and that a baby born in 2009 was over 1.5 times more likely to be breastfed than one born in 2006.
Jenny says ‘the research clearly shows that training community staff is key to improving breast feeding rates. Bristol should be proud of being a Baby Friendly City, and more children in the next generation will now have the benefit of improved health and cognitive development from being breastfed.’