Pre-school organisation Blossom Sure Start has been presented with the Baby Friendly Award in recognition of its support for new mums, including those who breastfeed.
Blossom Sure Start, which is based at Park Road in Portadown, is the first Sure Start project in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust area to achieve the UNICEF accolade.
The award was presented by Janet Calvert, Baby Friendly Initiative advisor and breastfeeding lead for Northern Ireland, to Sandra Hewitt, midwife and breastfeeding co-ordinator at the Southern Trust.
Said Sandra, “Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life.
“We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers – although mums might be more interested in hearing that it is easier, cheaper and less hassle than bottle feeding.”
Fiona Milligan, project manager at Blossom Sure Start, said, “We decided to join forces with UNICEF UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers in the Portadown area and in particular those within Blossom Sure Start.
“But however a mum chooses to feed her baby, she can be sure that she will be supported to form a strong loving relationship with her newborn – through having maximum skin to skin contact and understanding how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond.
“Blossom Sure Start offers additional services to support relationship building for both parents regardless of feeding choice through antenatal feeding workshops, breast feeding support, antenatal classes and baby massage.”
Ms Calvert added, “Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mums at Blossom Sure Start can be confident that their midwife and health visitors will provide high standards of care.”