National Infant Feeding Networks
The National Infant Feeding Network is a network of 700 infant feeding specialists and academics responsible for the education and support of 75,000 health professionals, and 5,000 students across England and Northern Ireland, who in turn are responsible for caring for over 700,000 mothers and babies every year.
Supported by Unicef UK, the network shares and promotes evidence-based practice around infant feeding and very early childhood development to deliver optimum health and wellbeing outcomes for mothers and babies (and their families).
Effective communication across the networks is co-ordinated by nine local leads who provide representation of their members’ views at national strategic level.
Below are full details of your regional NIFN coordinator and information for Infant Feeding Leads wanting to attend a local meeting, as well as information on the NIFN’s new neonatal branch.
NEW: Neonatal branch
Thanks to a grant from the Department of Health, we are setting up a neonatal branch of the National Infant Feeding Network (NeoNIFN), specifically to support neonatal units to improve practice and standards of care for sick and preterm babies and their families. Find out more and join, or contact Helen Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Karen Read (email@example.com) for further details.
We are a newly formed group of infant feeding advisors who are involved in the implementation of the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative neonatal standards. The purpose of our group is similar to SIFAN but focusing on neonatal care. It provides a platform to share information and knowledge which will support practice. We are lucky to have the representatives from Scottish Government and Unicef UK at our meetings which take place 3 times a year.
At our last meeting we discussed:
- the role on donor milk in NICU
- data collection and how we can improve this nationally
- tools which promote consistency of information sharing for parents and staff.
NeoSIFAN is currently chaired by myself, Gillian Bowker. I am the neonatal infant feeding lead for Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Previous to this post I was a neonatal nurse and have worked in various units throughout the UK. Currently all of the units in Glasgow are stage 2 within neonatal and two of them are working towards stage 3. It is an exciting time to be involved in neonates and I look forward to working with NeoSIFAN on our Scottish journey towards accreditation.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
East of England
Coordinator: Jacky Syme
A midwife and now a Health Visitor, Jacky works as Practice Development Lead for the 0-19 services in SEPT Community Health Services Bedfordshire. Since becoming a midwife in 1985, breastfeeding has been a real passion and Jacky has performed a number of roles specific to infant feeding over the years in Midwifery and Health Visiting. She is the Unicef UK Baby friendly lead in SEPT Bedfordshire, ensuring that the organisation maintains the Unicef UK Baby Friendly standards which they achieved together with all children’s centres in Bedford and Central Bedfordshire Councils in 2013.
The East of England Infant Feeding Co-ordinators’ Meetings
As a group we meet three-four times a year. We provide a forum where infant feeding leads can meet, learn, share and support each other in our day-to-day jobs. The meetings also provide an opportunity to feed into the infant feeding agenda nationally as well as the chance to hear more about the English regional leads’ tri-annual meeting.
The group is welcoming, informal and friendly and uses ‘action learning’ to progress support for each other and mothers and babies in their area of practice.
If you are an infant feeding co-ordinator in a maternity unit, neonatal unit, health visiting service, children’s centre or university we would love to hear from you and you are very welcome to join us – please email me.
email@example.com; 01234 317151, mobile: 07943 523806 or via SEPT Community Health Services, Woburn Court, 2 Railton Road, Woburn Road Industrial Estate, Bedford, Bedfordshire MK42 7PN.
Coordinator: Theresa Drozdowska
My name is Theresa Drozdowska and as one of the 9 National Infant Feeding Network leads, I represent the East Midlands. After 20 years midwifery experience, I became the Infant Feeding lead for Nottinghamshire Community, taking my Trust from the beginning to full Baby Friendly accreditation hopefully by the end of this year. Since being in post, I have trained as a lactation consultant and am due to complete a Masters in Public Health which has further fuelled my passion and commitment to breastfeeding.
We meet 3-4 times a year, and as we cover a substantial area from Lincolnshire, across to Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, we vary the venues throughout the area. Our friendly group comprises of hospital and community practitioners, as well as University lecturers, who regularly meet to share experiences and innovative practice. We have all gained tremendous support from each other, and have been instrumental in guiding each other through the stages of BFI accreditation.
We have recently began to use ‘action learning’ to progress support for each other and mothers and babies in each of our respective areas of practice. Our welcoming and informal meetings also provide an opportunity to feed into the infant feeding agenda nationally as well as the chance to hear more about the English regional leads’ tri-annual meeting.
If you are an infant feeding co-ordinator in a maternity unit, neonatal unit, health visiting service, children’s centre or university we would love to hear from you and you are very welcome to join us – please email me: Theresa.firstname.lastname@example.org; tel 0115 8835193; mobile 07816 076833 or at Breastfeeding Promotion, County Health Partnerships, Stapleford Care Centre, Church Street, Stapleford, Nottingham NG9 8DB
Coordinator: Zoë Chadderton
Zoë is one of the nine ‘National Infant Feeding Network’ (NIFN) Leads and represents London. A midwife of 24 years, Zoë works as the breastfeeding coordinator for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, based in the maternity unit in St Thomas’. She also works closely with her community colleagues to try and maintain a full service for mums and babies. St Thomas’ gained BFI full accreditation in 2015. Zoë is also a Supporter, Supervisor and Tutor with the Breastfeeding Network and has trained many peer supporters in south London.
As a group we meet four times a year. We provide a forum where infant feeding leads can meet, learn, share, and support each other in our day-to-day jobs. The meetings also provide an opportunity to feed into the infant feeding agenda nationally as well as the chance to hear more about the English regional leads’ tri-annual meeting.
The group is welcoming, informal and friendly, and uses ‘action learning’ to progress support for each other and mothers and babies in their area of practice.
If you are an infant feeding co-ordinator in a maternity unit, neonatal unit, health visiting service, children’s centre or university we would love to hear from you and you are very welcome to join us – please email me: Zoe.email@example.com; tel (work) 0207 188 7564 (Monday-Thursday)
Coordinator: Debbie Wade
I’m Debbie Wade, I have a midwifery and Health Visiting background and have worked within Northumberland as an Infant Feeding Co-ordinator for approximately 10 years where we have full community Unicef UK Baby Friendly accreditation.
Our regional group meets quarterly to share good practice, offer one another support and encouragement and influence infant feeding strategy within the region.
If you would like further information don’t hesitate to contact me or just come along and be welcomed on the day; email firstname.lastname@example.org, 07717 730370
Coordinator: Chris Jordan
Coordinator: Maggie Pringle
Hello, my name is Maggie Pringle and I am the NIFN lead for the South East, covering Surrey, Kent and Medway, Sussex and the Thames Valley. My background is in midwifery and health visiting and I currently work as the Infant Feeding Coordinator for CFHS in West Surrey where I led on implementation of the Baby Friendly Initiative best practice standards from the beginning to full accreditation in 2015 and re-accreditation in 2018. I am also part of the Unicef UK Baby Friendly team.
Our regional NIFN meetings take place three times a year in London. We are a friendly group of professionals who share good practice, offer one another support and encouragement and influence infant feeding strategy within the region. We also debate clinical issues and offer practical support for challenges you may face in the workplace, and between meetings have an active culture of information sharing and problem solving via email.
If you would like to know more please do contact me via email: email@example.com or telephone: 07747 485 186.
Coordinator: Elizabeth Mayo
Welcome to the South West group! We cover a huge area from Swindon, down and across to Dorset one way and the other way to the Welsh border, then down the coastline as far as you can go (including the Scilly Isles). Members of our group travel a long way for our meetings because we get such a lot of mutual support and help from them.
All of the South West NHS services are well on the way to full accreditation or have been at that point for a while so there is a huge amount of experience just waiting to be shared.
We meet three times a year at the Women’s Centre in Exeter.
I am the South West lead for the National Infant Feeding Network. My background is in midwifery, taking my unit from the beginning to full Baby Friendly accreditation. I am also part of the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly team.
Please do contact me if you would like more information: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 07989 258 857
Coordinator: Amanda Costello
Hello my name is Amanda Costello, West Midlands lead for the National Infant Feeding Network. I am a midwife and as an Infant Feeding Lead in a maternity unit I have the responsibility for leading on the implementation of the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) best practice standards. This has taken me through the process from action planning meeting to full accreditation, reassessment and further action planning to address specific weaknesses. So I understand that for all my colleagues in maternity units, community and education this can be a challenging but worthwhile process and I am fully aware of the value of a supportive and strong regional group.
The West Midlands NIFN group has representation from maternity, health visiting, children’s centres, public health and higher education. Collectively we share a great deal of experience, knowledge and skills. We meet three times a year to discuss national, regional and local strategies and provide support through action learning sets.
Our meetings are held 3 times a year at Public Health England, 5 St Philips Place, Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 2PW. Email email@example.com.
Sample documents: Making the Case for Breastfeeding – A paper outlining the drivers and areas for action to improve breastfeeding rates in the region, by Public Health England West Midlands Centre | Template for Public Health Services – This document, by Walsall Council and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, shows how different public services in an area can work together to provide breastfeeding support. | National Infant Feeding Network PHE : Data and Tools introduction and overview
Yorkshire and the Humber
Coordinator: Janette Westman
Hi, my name is Janette Westman and I present Yorkshire and Humberside as one of the nine ‘National Infant Feeding Network’ (NIFN) Leads. I’ve been a midwife since 1979 and have been a specialist midwife in infant feeding since 2000. This has involved coordinating Baby Friendly accreditation and reaccreditation in for Bradford Women and Newborns Unit as well as helping to develop the district-wide breastfeeding strategy. I’ve been fortunate to be involved in research about babies’ sleeping environments and readmission of babies with hypernatraemic dehydration. I’m a member of the Association of Tongue Tie practitioners and am a senior professional officer with Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative.
I’ve been involved in the region for many years, since we first got together as a group of infant feeding leads who were looking for support from like-minded colleagues. Over that time we have formed friendships and provided support and encouragement for each other. We meet quarterly to discuss national, regional and local strategies and continue to provide support for each as we implement best practice standards.
If you are an infant feeding lead for maternity, neonatal unit, health visiting services, university or children’s centres you would be very welcome to join the friendly, informal group.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 01274 364583
All meetings are in the Womens and Newborn Unit (Bradford Maternity Unit) and start at 10am till 3pm –
SIFAN is the Scottish Infant Feeding Advisors Network which represents the 14 health boards within Scotland. Our meetings are held every 6 months and have representation from the Scottish Government and NHS Health Scotland which we are extremely grateful for. The purpose of our network is to provide those leading on infant feeding work at local level with a national forum to share good practice, and use local expertise to influence national programmes. In addition to our SIFAN meetings we also have Scottish Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative meetings every 6 months led by Anne Tainsh, our Unicef lead in Scotland.
Recent discussions in SIFAN have included:
- Correspondence with RCM regarding their advertising in professional magazines in relation to WHO compliance
- Collectively deciding to stop individual board panel meetings with formula representatives and instead using First Steps Nutrition resources for evidence
- Working with the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre evaluating kangaroo care and breastfeeding in neonatal units within Scotland
- Working exploring the use of breast pumps as part of the BABI study which is funded by Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and NHS Health Scotland
- Implementation of the Maternal and Infant Nutrition Framework within Boards
- Scottish Infant Feeding Survey which is currently running
- A short term working group looking at evolving a tongue tie training programme aimed at health professionals which includes anatomy, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, follow up and evaluation. Currently the group have agreed on a Scotland-wide best practice guidance document on the assessment and management of a suspected tongue tie which is affecting feeding.
The network is currently chaired by myself, Karen Mackay. I am the Infant feeding lead for NHS Highland in the North of Scotland. My background is midwifery and our Board has been fully Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative accredited for 2 years now including hospital and community settings. It is a great pleasure to chair these meetings and to work with such enthusiastic and knowledgeable colleagues within Scotland. I represent Scotland quarterly at NIFN meetings in London which I love despite the 18 hour travelling day!
For more information, contact Karen on Karen.email@example.com.
In addition, NeoSIFAN is a newly formed group looking specifically at our neonatal units and taking forward the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative neonatal standards. Members are from throughout Scotland with a wealth of expertise and skill who look forward to implementing the neonatal standards and sharing expertise within Scotland.
Donor milk bank
In June 2013 Scotland’s only Human Milk Bank, located within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) expanded to provide Donor Human Milk equitably across the country. Prior to this expansion the bank predominantly supplied milk to babies cared for within GGC but was also receiving increasing requests for milk from other health boards in Scotland.
Over the time period 2010-2016 there has been a year on year increase in milk volumes pasteurised and recipients of Donor Human Milk. The increase has been greatest since the establishment of a Scotland wide service. Over half of the milk is now transferred out of GGC for use within all 14 Scottish health boards.
The Milk Bank takes donors from all over Scotland, and completes the screening by email and post. The service receives support from Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity who provide a volunteer driver service supporting the transportation of milk from donors homes and to the Neonatal Units across Scotland.
Within Scotland we have fantastic resources to support breastfeeding nationally, these include
- Off to A Good Start http://www.healthscotland.com/documents/120.aspx
- Feedgood Scotland website http://www.feedgood.scot/
For more information, contact Karen on Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coordinator: Janet Calvert
email@example.com tel 07584 124211
A National Infant Feeding Network for universities is now in place: this supports infant feeding lead lecturers who hold the responsibility for instigating and maintaining a university’s Baby Friendly educational standards for either midwifery or health visiting pre-registration programmes.
The network of lecturers aims to promote discussion of best infant feeding educational practice within universities, and supports lecturers to come together and share curricula, best practice, learning outcomes and develop centres of excellence.
With funding from the Department of Health and supported by Unicef UK, the network shares and promotes evidence-based practice around infant feeding and very early childhood development to deliver optimum health and wellbeing outcomes for mothers and babies (and their families).
Effective communication across the networks is co-ordinated by Baby Friendly’s Senior Policy Officer Francesca Entwistle, who provides representation of member’s views at national strategic level.
University NIFN meetings
Infant feeding leads and health professionals across the UK regularly create useful guidelines and resources to aid with the implementation of best practice in their area.
We are happy to use these pages to share some of these examples. If you would like to share some of the work done in your facility, please email us.
Please note that, although we share these resources, Unicef UK has not been involved in developing them unless clearly stated.