The efforts of Solihull Community Services to make the borough a place where babies are given the best start in life has been given the international seal of approval by UNICEF.
The Solihull community breast feeding service has been accredited with the prestigious Baby Friendly Award for the team’s work with midwives, health visitors, nursery nurses, peer supporters and children centre staff across the borough, to raise awareness of the benefits of breast feeding and to ensure there is help and support available for mums.
As well as support and advice, the Solihull breastfeeding directory is offered to mums who use the service, which gives them information on the many local cafes and shops where mums are welcome to breastfeed their babies and where mums and mums-to-be can offer each other support and also get professional help and advice.
Gaining this accreditation involved UNICEF staff interviewing pregnant women and new mothers to determine whether breastfeeding best practice standards are being met.
Mum of four and a half year old twins, Alanis and Dante, and 13 month old, Eden, Rachel Pooler has taken on the role of peer supporter to offer help and advice to other local mums after benefitting from the service herself. She said: “It can be such a great experience to breast feed your child. If I hadn’t had the staff from the breastfeeding service to talk to, I might not have felt I was able to, which is why I want to offer this support myself. Just having someone to talk to and knowing things are normal can make a real difference.”
Carmen Baskerville, Infant feeding co-ordinator, said: “Breastfeeding is perfect for giving babies a healthy start, as breastfed babies are less likely to suffer with diarrhoea and vomiting, or chest or ear infections. It can also have a positive impact on future health, for example preventing diabetes and obesity for baby and breast and ovarian cancer for mum.
“It is a great pleasure to accept the award from UNICEF in recognition of our gold standard breastfeeding service.”
Dr Mark Newbold, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, said: “The Baby Friendly accreditation is rigorously assessed and signifies that the care and support pregnant women, new mothers and their families receive for their baby is of the highest standard. This is a wonderful accolade for the Trust and demonstrates just how consistently hard the Solihull Community Breastfeeding Services team work to ensure we maintain best practice standards.”
Anyone wanting help or advice from the breastfeeding service can call the breastfeeding team on 07970811026.