Bouncing Babies Join Celebrations for Prestigious Award

You couldn’t get much friendlier than this – two bouncing babies sharing in celebrations at the Women and Children’s Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, to mark the Unit’s success in achieving a prestigious Baby Friendly Award from UNICEF (United Nation’s Children’s Fund).

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 health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high-quality support to enable successful breastfeeding. The Award is given to health facilities after an assessment by a UNICEF team, which involved interviews with staff, antenatal women and postnatal mothers. Results demonstrate that recognised best practice standards are in place.

Presenting the award, Theresa McElhone, Lead Professional Officer for Scotland said that every mother they had interviewed could not praise NHS Forth Valley staff  highly enough:

 “Words like phenomenal, wonderful and tremendous were used. Achieving full accreditation is hard work, and represents a lot of effort over a lot of time.”

NHS Forth Valley Infant Feeding Advisor Elaine Ronald, who accepted the award, added:

 “This has been a huge team effort and shows our commitment and motivation as a team. Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as allergies and diabetes in childhood. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers – although mums might be more interested in hearing that it is easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.”

Her views were echoed by Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director Sue Ashmore:

 “We are delighted that Forth Valley Royal Hospital has achieved full Baby Friendly status. Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers at NHS Forth Valley’s Women and Children’s Unit can be confident that their midwives will provide the highest standard of care.”