UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation to provide a practical and effective way for health services and children’s centres to improve the care provided for pregnant women, mothers and babies. In the UK the initiative works by supporting breastfeeding and strengthening parent-infant relationships.
Royal Borough of Greenwich children’s centres have been accredited as Baby Friendly by the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative for excellence in the support of breastfeeding and parent-infant relationships following an assessment visit in January 2017.
The assessors found all of the children’s centres to provide extremely welcoming environments for pregnant women, parents and families where a high level of support and care is given.
Miranda Williams, Cabinet Member for children and young people and David Gardner, Cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care said:
"Our children’s centres provide help, advice and information on all aspects of early life and are a vital resource for families in the borough and I’m delighted the good work provided by these services has been recognised in this way.”
Feedback from the UNICEF assessors:
The assessors interviewed 65 mothers, 46 members of staff and visited 11 children’s centres. It was clear to the assessment team that pregnant women, new mothers and families receive a very high standard of support.
The assessors were “blown away by all of the staff within the children’s centres. They have received excellent training and were keen to share their knowledge. All staff were sensitive, knew their parents, and had a non-judgemental approach.”
“Staff were extremely knowledgeable and demonstrated knowledge beyond the level to which they were trained.”
“Children’s centres were extremely welcoming environments and they were innovative in their approach to support parents.”
The children’s centres display boards are to be “commended for the innovative, engaging and ‘non preachy’ approach to getting across important messages on health practices (including breastfeeding) and responsive parenting.”
“Key messages around responsive parenting were woven into conversations sensitively. Staff used modelling techniques when speaking to babies and toddlers and ensured that all parents were made to feel part of the group.”