Support to encourage women in Northumberland to breastfeed has been given a prestigious national award.
Help and advice provided to families in the community has been given the Unicef Baby Friendly Gold Award – the first award nationally for support provided outside of hospitals.
It endorses the care women, babies and families receive from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in relation to infant feeding before and following the birth of a baby. This includes advice from health visitors, nursery nurses and breastfeeding support workers, telephone support, groups in the community and on social media and a dedicated website.
Debbie Wade, midwife/health visitor infant feeding coordinator at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We are delighted to be the first trust in the country to receive this prestigious award for the support we provide in the community.
“The simple fact is that breast milk is best for baby and breastfeeding and being breastfed have major health benefits for women and babies. It reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer for women and reduces the risk of gastroenteritis, ear and chest infections in babies and has a life-long effect on the health of their heart.
“In Northumberland, we’re passionate about doing all we can to encourage women to breastfeed, giving them the practical and emotional support they need to feel able, confident and comfortable to breastfeed.
“The support we give is having a real impact on women with 17 per cent more women breastfeeding at six weeks after they’re given birth, and beyond, when they receive this type of additional support.
“We’re extremely pleased with the many positive comments from women about the support we give and this award will act as a springboard for us to continue our efforts to increase the number of women breastfeeding yet further.”