Findings from the Becoming Breastfeeding-Friendly process in Wales highlight the nation’s strong commitment to the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding, including investment in Baby Friendly.
The report recognises existing positive breastfeeding policies in Wales and outlines 31 key recommendations to ensure a consistent approach for quality improvement across all settings. This includes strengthening breastfeeding support across government, hospital and community health, peer support and other levels in order to overcome challenges which remain in the nation, such as low breastfeeding rates and the related health, economic and environmental impacts of this.
Recommended interventions include an evidence-based strategic action plan, consistent and long-term funding, a co-created engagement and promotion framework, strengthened education and training, robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and adherence to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. These require sustainable investment and political, positional and operational buy-in across government, health and social services and should be co-created by communities to meet the needs of the diverse Welsh population.
The report also supports implementation of the Baby Friendly standards in services across Wales, saying:
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...discussions were central at Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly meetings in relation to supporting the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative across Wales. Programmes such as this unite professionals across maternity, neonatal and health visiting services alongside university settings where future professionals are trained. This connection between hospital and community-based services is a core part of breastfeeding support. Given the evidence of the benefit of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative status upon breastfeeding initiation and continuation (Munn et al., 2016), it is important to embed further accreditation and its underpinning evidence to breastfeeding support across Wales.
To read more on the outcomes of this review, access the full report here.