Nottingham CityCare Partnership staff and children’s centre staff were visited by UNICEF assessors in November 2013 and the organisations have just received a glowing report for the way they teach the benefits and techniques of breastfeeding to mums.
By completing the assessment successfully, the staff have passed stage 2 of the UNICEF Baby Friendly initiative which aims to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in the UK and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships.
When the assessors visited CityCare and Nottingham Children’s Centre staff, nine out of the 13 criterion assessed achieved a 100 per cent pass rate and the remaining four averaged a score of 85 per cent.
Specialist health visitor in infant nutrition at CityCare Pippa Atkinson is a lead on the programme. Pippa was one 31 staff assessed and said she couldn’t be prouder of how all her team pulled together. She said: “We passed stage one of the assessment in May 2012. This was about how we understood the processes of breastfeeding.
“Stage two looks at the knowledge and the skills of our staff and how they pass this on to breastfeeding mums. The assessors ask the staff questions and look at the ways they are teaching mums to breastfeed.”
Key facts which CityCare and Children’s Centre staff pass on to mums include the benefits of breastfeeding for babies – such as protection against ear infections, chest infections and wheezing, diarrhoea and gastro-enteritis – and guidelines about when to introduce babies to solid food and tips about positioning the baby so it is attached properly to the breast.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother include lowering the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer and stronger bones in later life.
The report from UNICEF said that the external assessors were “blown away” by the knowledge of all staff involved in the programme and were impressed with the “excellent communication skills and the ability to give simple open ended advice to mothers which was bang on the button.”
Pippa added: “Passing stage two is a fantastic achievement for the team. It was a very intensive assessment and the assessors were extremely thorough. Everybody worked together so well and it was a really positive experience.”
CityCare is now aiming to pass stage three of assessment which will take place in November 2014, when the focus will be on mother’s experience of the support they have received.
Chief Executive of CityCare Lyn Bacon added: “CityCare have been instrumental in improving both health and social opportunities of parents in the city all our staff are passionate about supporting families.
“This is another fantastic achievement for us and we hope to go on to pass stage three of the assessment in November.”