Better Care

Trust takes 'baby friendly' approach up a level

BCHC has become the largest community trust in the country to achieve UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) stage 2 status - an evidence-based standard promoting breastfeeding and safe formula feeding practices.

The success, led by the infant feeding team in partnership with the health visiting service, follows stage 1 accreditation in 2014.

Work has already begun to meet the criteria to achieve BFI stage 3 status, which focuses on capturing parents' reflections on their experience of health visiting and public health nursing services.


Breastfeeding prevalence in Birmingham at six to eight weeks is 52 per cent and, with infant and child mortality rates poorer than the England average, promoting breastfeeding and safe formula feeding is a vital service for families across the city.

As part of the ‘Baby Friendly’ process, mandatory training has been delivered to nearly 400 health visitors and health visiting assistants to help them best support mums in feeding their baby.

Children and families division clinical director Dr Doug Simkiss said: “All those involved in the Trust successfully achieving this accreditation deserve huge praise.

“They pulled out all the stops to meet the standards, which is testament to their commitment to the health and wellbeing of babies throughout Birmingham.”

UNICEF and the World Health Organisation launched the Baby Friendly Initiative in the UK in 1994 within maternity units. It was adopted by community providers in 1998. Baby Friendly is recommended by the Healthy Child Programme and a range of other national policies and practice standards.

NICE guidelines set out that all maternity hospitals and community provider should become Baby Friendly-accredited and that all mothers should be offered skilled breastfeeding support.