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We passed!

11 August 2017

We're delighted to say that Kilkeel Sure Start, along with the other Sure Start Projects in the Southern area, have been awarded Stage 2 in the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative.  We're now working hard to achieve Stage 3.

The Baby Friendly Initiative, a global programme of the World Health Organization and UNICEF, encourages health services to improve the care provided to mothers and babies so that they are able to start and continue breastfeeding for as long as they wish.

The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative sets minimum standards for the care of mothers and babies and provides education, materials and support to help health-care facilities to implement these. Once all the standards are in place, facilities can be assessed and accredited as Baby Friendly. Accreditation lasts for two to five years, at which point reassessment is required.

Hospitals and community health-care facilities must develop a breastfeeding policy and train all their staff in its implementation. Pregnant women must be offered education on infant feeding and new mothers supported to learn how to breastfeed and care for their babies. Practices that may harm breastfeeding, such as separating mothers and babies and giving breastfeeding babies bottles of infant formula, should be avoided unless there is a clinical need. Mothers should be told about support available to them in the community, and community health-care facilities should provide additional services to support mothers to continue breastfeeding.

The Baby Friendly Initiative requires that staff take the time to discuss infant feeding with all mothers so that they are able to make an informed decision about how they feed their baby. If a mother chooses to bottle feed, then minimum standards for her care (such as encouraging skin contact after delivery, keeping mothers and babies together and ensuring that mothers know how to prepare a bottle feed) are ensured as part of the Baby Friendly standards.