The University of Cumbria has pledged its commitment to taking the first steps towards gaining recognition from the UK Committee of UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) for its high-level training of student midwives.
The Baby Friendly University Award recognises high levels of training in breastfeeding and baby-parent relationships to student midwives and those on other related allied health courses.
Midwifery lecturers at the university’s Institute of Health have received a Certificate of Commitment, a mark of dedication to implement recognised best practice standards in breastfeeding training and work towards full accreditation.
In readiness for an assessment in 2022, students already on the university’s BSc (Hons) Midwifery and MSc Pre-Registration Midwifery courses are being taught to BFI standards thanks to lecturers who have incorporated them into the validated programmes.
The nationally recognised quality mark demonstrates the significance of positive early baby-parent relationships and interaction. It sets standards for the education of healthcare professionals to support parents in building close and loving relationships with their babies, through breastfeeding and informed infant feeding choices.
Lecturer Kerry Cooper, BFI implementation lead at the university, said: “The University of Cumbria is committed to providing our midwifery students with the best available, evidence-based teaching which will go on to see them support women and families with infant feeding and bonding with their babies, in accordance with the BFI standards.
“This will equip our newly-qualified graduating midwives to enter the workplace fully conversant on BFI standards, providing them with a strong foundation to care for families.”
The Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme which aims to transform healthcare for babies, their mothers and families as part of a wider global partnership between UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the UK, the Baby Friendly Initiative works with public services and universities to better support families with feeding and developing close, loving relationships in order to ensure that all babies get the best possible start in life.