Queen Alexandra Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, alongside Portsmouth maternity services, has been awarded a certificate of commitment in its first step towards gaining international recognition from the UNICEF UK (United Nations Children's Fund) baby friendly initiative.
In the UK, the initiative works with health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high-quality support to enable successful breastfeeding.
Neonatal feeding specialist, Alexandra Dawson, said: ‘We decided to join forces with the baby friendly initiative to support relationship building and support all parents to form a strong and loving bond in NICU.’
And Sue Billingham, a lactation consultant for Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said: ‘ Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes later in life.
‘We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers – although mums might be more interested in hearing that it’s easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.’
The certificate of commitment recognises that a health care facility is dedicated to implementing best practice standards.