Children’s services across Wakefield are celebrating after being reaccredited with the national UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative.

Health visiting and family nurse partnership services, ran in Wakefield by Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, have achieved the national accreditation, for showing excellent practice in protecting, promoting and supporting infant feeding and parent-infant relationships.

The Baby Friendly Initiative is designed to provide parents with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their baby and to feed their baby in ways which will support the best health and development for them.

Margaret Appleyard, 0-19 service leader in Wakefield, said: “We are delighted at being reaccredited with the Baby Friendly Initiative. We are very proud that our services have been acknowledged as providing mothers with the help and support they need to successfully breastfeed if they choose to do so.

“We are really pleased that we have achieved full UNICEF Baby Friendly status. The accreditation is recognition that the staff are giving clear and consistent advice and supporting mums and babies to have the best start in life.”

The Trust marked the occasion with a presentation which saw senior leaders from the organisation, families and babies (FAB), public health commissioners and breast-feeding peer supporters get together to celebrate the achievement.

Margaret added: “A key part of our role is to strengthen parent-infant relationships, regardless of whether a baby is breastfed or not. However we do recognise that many mums need support and encouragement to help them to continue breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding is known to boost babies immune systems, protecting them from infections and childhood cancers, as well as protecting against obesity, diabetes, asthma and eczema. Mums who breastfeed are also less likely to get breast or ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes or become obese.

We are extremely proud of this achievement, the UNICEF accreditation is really important in supporting babies, children and families to have the best start and opportunities in life.”