Coventry University has achieved the first step in gaining international recognition for the high quality breastfeeding education provided to students on its two BSc Midwifery courses.
The university has been awarded a Certificate of Commitment from the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative.
It is the first step towards full Baby Friendly accreditation, a prestigious international award highly sought after by hospitals, health organisations and training providers.
The university confirmed to UNICEF that it provides students with a thorough understanding of breastfeeding support and the formation of close and loving relationships between mothers and babies.
It has also ensured that there is no promotion of breastmilk substitutes, bottles, or teats on the midwifery courses or by any of the staff.
The next stage on the way to achieving full accreditation is assessment of the curriculum to ensure that other Baby Friendly standards are being met.
The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which helps health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies.
The Baby Friendly Universities Award was launched in the UK in 2008 – the first such award anywhere in the world – in order to ensure that high quality education in breastfeeding is incorporated in midwifery and health visitor training courses.
Sue Lees, Coventry University's lead midwife for education, said:
“We know that most women give up breastfeeding before they want to because of difficulties which could have been prevented with skilled help. By ensuring that our students have the appropriate knowledge and skills, more women will be able to breastfeed their babies for longer.
Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as allergies and diabetes in childhood. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers. Mothers might also be interested to know that it’s easier, cheaper and more convenient than bottle feeding.”
Sue Ashmore, Baby Friendly Initiative programme director, said:
“We are delighted that Coventry University has received this award.Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Working towards full Baby Friendly Accreditation means that Coventry University is addressing this problem and aiming to ensure more mothers can successfully breastfeed their babies in future."
For further press information, please contact Alison Martin, Coventry University, on 024 7765 9339 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.