Jan 10 2013 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
STAFF who encourage new mothers to breastfeed and offer them practical advice have been accredited by UNICEF.
Health visitors and voluntary breastfeeding peer supporters from Harrow were presented with the Baby Friendly Award by Anne Strong, professional officer for UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, which set up the Baby Friendly Initiative education and training programme in 1992 along with the World Health Organisation.
Harrow Community Services, run by Ealing Hospital NHS Trust, is the third community trust in London to have gained such recognition following a rigorous assessment of staff and volunteers’ knowledge, and feedback interviews with women who have been given guidance.
Alison Spiro, specialist health visitor and breastfeeding lead for Harrow, said: “Everyone has worked very hard for this award. We have 30 volunteer breastfeeding peer supporters working in support groups across the borough between Monday and Friday, mostly from children’s centres.
“All the health visitors and most of the midwives have now been trained and offer mothers consistent advice and support with breastfeeding. The result is that we now have fewer babies being admitted to hospital with tummy infections and obesity rates have fallen in children aged between four and five years.
“Mothers are also noticing that their health is improving, they can expect a reduction in breast and ovarian cancer later in life, and they are losing weight they gained in pregnancy.”
n For more information or for advice, call the helpline on 07530 310 060 or visit www.breastfeedinginharrow.org.