Lothian Health Visitors On Track For Baby Friendly Status

Community health services in Lothian are on track to receive an international award for their commitment to improve the lifelong health of mothers and children.

NHS Lothian’s team of health visitors has been recognised for their work to give babies the best start in life by promoting good nutrition.

The team was today (Monday) presented with a certificate of commitment from the prestigious Baby Friendly Initiative, which is run by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

Sally Egan Associate Director and Child Health Commissioner and Professor Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health and Health Policy, NHS Lothian, accepted the certificate in recognition of the work carried out to promote and support breastfeeding and ensure that every baby born in Lothian has the best nutrition.

Professor McCallum said: “Encouraging and supporting breastfeeding is a really important public health activity.

“Breast milk helps protect women and their babies from a variety of illnesses, helps to reduce the risk of childhood obesity and boosts psychological and cognitive development in infants.

“Through our team of health visitors, we can provide advice and support on the benefits of breastfeeding ensuring a high standard of care for mothers and babies in the community.”

The Baby Friendly Initiative works with the NHS in order to ensure high quality care for pregnant women, new mothers and babies.

This certificate means that community services in NHS Lothian are now able to work towards stage one of full Baby Friendly accreditation.

Vivien Hutchison, Infant Feeding Advisor, Edinburgh CHP said: “In NHS Lothian, we have been using the UNICEF standards as best practice in the community for a number of years.

“'Our health visiting teams are committed to this and it is wonderful that now we have our Certificate, we are ready to work towards Stage 1 of UNICEF Baby Friendly Accreditation.

“This will enable our staff to continue to protect, promote and support breastfeeding and strengthen mother-baby and family relationships.  These relationships are important for all babies, whether they are breastfed or not.”