Friday, February 12, 2010

Blackburn with Darwen achieves 'Believing in Breastfeeding' recognition

Children's centres across the borough are celebrating after achieving a ‘Believing in Breastfeeding’ award.

The prestigious award is part of local work towards the UNICEF Baby Friendly initiative, which accredits organisations helping to promote infant feeding.

It recognises the commitment of teams working within children's centres to promote, support and protect breastfeeding.

In Blackburn with Darwen, teams working together include Little Angels, midwives, health visiting and the infant feeding team. They work to ensure health facilities and childrens centres are breastfeeding friendly places.

And to further help promote breastfeeding in the borough, a baby friendly champion has been appointed in each centre. The roles will help ensure that the children's centres retain the ‘Believing in Breastfeeding’ status by carrying out annual audits of centres, advising on the displays and information which is available.

To achieve the award, all staff have undertaken training over the last three years to raise awareness about the needs of mothers and babies and the importance of the roles that dads play.

Training has included learning about the health benefits of breastfeeding to both baby and mum, how to support and the maintenance of breastfeeding.

Another aspect of the award is ensuring that the children's centres are sensitive to the needs of breastfeeding mums and their families.

Councillor Chris Thayne, executive member for children’s services, said: “This award and the roles of baby friendly champions who will act as keyworkers will further help to highlight the health benefits of breastfeeding not only for both mother and baby but to their partners, peers and families.

“Breastfeeding is the best way to give babies a good start in life, it has been proven to help support babies' immune systems and their development but also helps to reduce child hood obesity and diabetes.”

Each centre also has a breastfeeding policy which includes the WHO guidelines for the protection of breastfeeding by ensuring breast milk substitutes are not advertised.

For more information on breastfeeding and to find the children's centres nearest to where you live, contact the families information service on (01254) 667877.

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