Baby Friendly standards

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The Baby Friendly standards provide services with a roadmap for transforming care for all babies, their mothers and families.

Through our staged accreditation programme, services are enabled to support families with feeding and to help parents build a close and loving relationship with their baby.

Standards for health services

Stage 1: Building a firm foundation

Stage 1 of the Baby Friendly journey involves services putting policies in place to support the standards, as well as planning an education programme to ensure staff have a thorough understanding of infant feeding and the importance of early relationships to childhood development.

Stage 2: An educated workforce

Stage 2 focuses on delivering the education programme planned in Stage 1 – empowering staff with the skills and knowledge to support infant feeding and parent-infant relationship building.

Stage 3: Maternity

Stage 3 focuses on specific ways to transform care for families – the standards differ between service types to respond to families’ changing needs.

Maternity standards enable staff to:

  • Support pregnant women to recognise the importance of breastfeeding and early relationships for the health and wellbeing of their baby
  • Support all mothers and babies to initiate a close relationship and feeding soon after birth
    Enable mothers to get breastfeeding off to a good start
  • Support mothers to make informed decisions regarding the introduction of food or fluids other than breastmilk
  • Support parents to have a close and loving relationship with their baby.

Stage 3: Neonatal

Stage 3 focuses on specific ways to transform care for families – the standards differ between service types to respond to families’ changing needs.

Neonatal standards enable staff to:

  • Support parents to have a close and loving relationship with their baby
  • Enable babies to receive breastmilk and to breastfeed when possible
  • Value parents as partners in care.

Stage 3: Health visiting

Stage 3 focuses on specific ways to transform care for families – the standards differ between service types to respond to families’ changing needs.

Health visiting/public health nursing services standards enable staff to:

  • Support 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
  • Support mothers to make informed decisions regarding the introduction of food or fluids other than breastmilk
  • Support parents to have a close and loving relationship with their baby.

Stage 3: Children's centres

Stage 3 focuses on specific ways to transform care for families – the standards differ between service types to respond to families’ changing needs.

Children’s centre standards enable staff to:

  • Support pregnant women to recognise the importance of early relationships for the health and wellbeing of their baby
  • Protect and support breastfeeding in all areas of the service
  • Support parents to have a close and loving relationship with their baby.

Achieving Sustainability

These standards support services to embed high quality care for the longer term, focusing on four themes:

  • Leadership: Develop a leadership team that promotes the Baby Friendly standards
  • Culture: Foster an organisational culture that protects the Baby Friendly standards
  • Monitoring: Construct robust monitoring processes to support the Baby Friendly standards
  • Progression: Continue to develop the service in order to sustain the Baby Friendly standards.

Standards for universities

Our university standards for pre-registration Midwifery and Health Visiting courses help ensure that newly qualified midwives and health visitors have the strong foundation of knowledge needed to support families.

Standard 1: Written commitment

Standard 1 involves the university programme making a written commitment to adhere to the Baby Friendly standards, confirmed by a Head of Department or equivalent.

Standard 2: Knowledge and skills

Standard 2 is the heart of the university standards – ensuring that all students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to implement the Baby Friendly learning outcomes in the relevant clinical setting. This learning is based on the following themes:

  • Have an understanding of breastfeeding
  • Enable mothers to breastfeed
  • Support close and loving relationships
  • Be able to manage the challenges
  • Promote positive communication.

Standard 3: The Code

Standard 3 requires that teaching is provided without involvement, sponsorship or promotional materials covered by the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes – so as to ensure that students access only scientific and factual information about infant feeding, free from commercial interests.