Published on: 26 April 2023

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been accredited with the ‘Baby Friendly Initiative’ status by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF for its efforts to support families with feeding and to help parents build a closer relationship with their baby.

The Trust, which provides the universal children’s service in the city of Derby, including health visiting, was praised by the WHO and Unicef assessors for providing “a very high standard of care” to pregnant women and new mothers.

The ‘Baby Friendly Initiative’ outlines set standards that must be achieved in health visiting to achieve the award. These include:

  • Supporting pregnant women to recognise the importance of breastfeeding and early relationships for the health and wellbeing of their baby
  • Enable mothers to continue breastfeeding for as long as they wish
  • Supporting mothers to make informed decisions regarding the introduction of food or fluids other than breastmilk
  • Supporting parents to have a close and loving relationship with their baby.

As part of the ongoing assessment to ensure that standards are maintained, the Trust’s children’s universal service must be re-assessed every two to five years to ensure it still supports the health of both mothers and babies.

Carolyn Green, Director of Nursing and Patient Experience at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We want to ensure mothers in our care are supported in every way possible to be able to nurture and feed their babies with confidence.

“Maintaining these standards has been a real team effort and an achievement worth celebrating! We are keen to find new ways to develop our learning and support mothers across the board.”

Susan Earnshaw, Area Service Manager for 0-19 service at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are extremely proud of the Children’s universal service for their achievement which is a real testament to their ongoing hard work and commitment to children’s services.

“We recognise the importance this accreditation holds and will continue to strive to offer exceptional care to our patients.”

Baby Friendly Initiative report stated that the Trust had met all criteria for continued Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation. The report said, “staff are commended for their work to maintain the standards established. It was clear to the assessment team that pregnant women and new mothers receive a very high standard of care.”

All mothers who were interviewed provided exceptional feedback on the team expressing how they felt “calm”, “supported” and “listened to” during their care.

The team are awaiting their Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation plaque provided by the Baby Friendly Initiative and will be mentioned at the Baby Friendly Initiative Annual Conference in November 2023 where all accredited Trusts will be celebrated for their achievement.