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Implementing Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly in England

Scaling up breastfeeding support in the UK

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Findings from the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly project in England shine light on the Baby Friendly Initiative as a ‘key driver’ in providing breastfeeding support 

We are delighted to see that the review of the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly process in England, published November 2022, supports full implementation and sufficient resourcing for the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative as a strategic approach to extending local Baby Friendly monitoring to all maternity, community and neonatal settings.

The review describes the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative as a key driver in the provision of infant feeding support across services and consistent training to midwives and health visitors.

Clear gaps  in support

Importantly, the report identifies clear gaps in the evidence, policy and approach to breastfeeding support across England.

Echoing calls by the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, NICE, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition and more, the report urges adherence to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (the Code) and the strengthening of infant feeding coordination and strategic action through improved routine infant feeding data mechanisms, including a UK-wide survey and national Infant Feeding Survey.

Key messages

  • England’s overall weighted Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) Index score was 1.1 (range 0–3) representing a moderate scaling up environment (range 1.1–2.0). Five gears: Political Will, Legislation and Policies, Funding and Resources; Training and Programme Delivery and Research and Evaluation scored at a moderate gear strength, while the remaining three gears—Advocacy, Promotion and Coordination Goals and Monitoring—were weak.
  • The BBF process for England highlighted substantial gaps in the current breastfeeding practice data and recommended that more robust routine, population-level infant feeding data collection and reporting is initiated that goes beyond 6–8 weeks and up to 2 years.
  • The process identified that the lack of a national infant feeding co-ordinator role or national breastfeeding committee had resulted in no dedicated workplan and a lack of advocacy for breastfeeding programmes. The need for greater future coordination, strategic goal setting and consistent monitoring was recommended to strengthen the breastfeeding environment.

Learn more and access the article ‘Scaling up breastfeeding in England through the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly initiative’ (November 2022) here


The Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly project

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