Bristol is a Baby Friendly city
Press release issued: 12 July 2010
Bristol is the first city in England to be awarded ‘Baby Friendly’ status by UNICEF UK, in recognition of NHS Bristol's work to promote and protect breastfeeding. Dr Jenny Ingram from Bristol University’s Centre for Child and Adolescent Health evaluated the impact of this programme.
To celebrate this achievement, Anne Milton MP, Under Secretary of State for Public Health, will present the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative community breastfeeding award at a ceremony at NHS Bristol today [Tuesday 13 July].
Over several years, health care staff in the maternity hospitals and Bristol Primary Care Trust have received UNICEF UK/WHO Baby Friendly Initiative training in breastfeeding support and management. Dr Jenny Ingram from Bristol University’s Centre for Child and Adolescent Health evaluated the impact of this programme.
Dr Ingram found that significant improvements in staff breastfeeding attitudes, knowledge and self-efficacy were seen after attending the training course. The evaluation showed that breastfeeding rates at eight weeks increased significantly after the community staff had been trained, and that a baby born in 2009 was over 1.5 times more likely to be breastfed than one born in 2006.
Dr Ingram said: “The research clearly shows that training community staff is key to improving breast feeding rates. Bristol should be proud of being a Baby Friendly City, and more children in the next generation will now have the benefit of improved health and cognitive development from being breastfed.”
With less than two per cent of babies being exclusively breastfed at six months, breastfeeding rates in the UK are amongst the lowest in the developed world. Evidence shows that breastfeeding is by far the best way to feed a baby, giving protection against many illnesses for both mother and baby.
Implementing the Baby Friendly standards has been proven to increase breastfeeding rates. Since the start of the project, breastfeeding rates in Bristol have risen and more mothers are breastfeeding for longer.