Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust (LCH) Health Visiting service has been awarded the prestigious Baby Friendly Award and is the latest UK health care service to win international recognition from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).

The UNICEF assessor commented that Leeds had achieved something amazing, working in a huge area with nearly 11,000 deliveries a year. The assessor also picked up that there was much improved information for mums being provided, especially around bed sharing and appropriate use of dummies.

Based on the post and ante natal mums who were contacted as part of the assessment the key findings were:

  • 89% received correct information about night feeds and bed sharing

[74% on last audit]

  • 94% received correct information about hand expressing – how and why to do it

[71% on last audit]

  • 97% received correct information about the use of dummies

[79% on last audit]

Debra Gill, Health Visiting service manager at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust commented; “Our staff work extremely hard to support mothers and babies in Leeds and this is excellent recognition for the work being done. Through our daily work we strive to deliver the best possible start for babies and their families in Leeds and know that good, early advice can make a real difference to support breastfeeding.”

The LCH team works closely with Leeds City Council’s Public Health team to make sure new mothers and mothers-to-be are aware of how to give their babies the best start in life.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board said:

“This is excellent recognition for the work being done to support mothers and babies in Leeds (and dad’s too). Given the sheer numbers of new parents in the city every year and the diversity of Leeds this achievement is even greater.
“As a mum of two young children myself I know the difference that early support from an excellent health visitor can make and I would like to pass on my thanks and congratulations to all the team involved.”

Sally Goodwin-Mills, Baby Friendly Initiative Coordinator at Leeds City Council Public Health team said:

“This is a massive improvement to make at any time, particularly to be achieved at a time of huge change, ever increasing demands and workload. It shows the commitment to constantly improve and to ensure the best possible support is being given by everyone. This is a huge achievement and I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work.”

The 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 after an assessment by a UNICEF team has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.

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