Camden’s Early Years’ Service achieves prestigious UNICEF Baby Friendly Award
Camden Council and the Central and North-West (CNWL) London NHS Foundation Trust are celebrating after its Integrated Early Years Service achieves prestigious Baby Friendly status by UNICEF.
Camden’s Early Years service has been awarded Baby Friendly status by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), making it one of only eight NHS services in London to have achieved this accreditation.
The Early Years service, a partnership between the Council and CNWL, includes family health visiting and baby feeding, supporting over 8,000 families in the borough.
Work towards this accreditation began in 2017 and during the assessment, UNICEF recognised the high quality and sustained practice improvement within the service to support with infant feeding as well as parent-infant relationships.
The early years of a child’s life is a crucial time, and the foundations of almost every aspect of development – physical, intellectual and emotional – are laid down in early childhood. That’s why we want to ensure parent-infant relationships get off to the absolute best start and this award recognises the hard work and determination of the team to achieve this. This is fantastic news - well done to all.
The earliest experiences shape a baby’s brain development and have a lifelong impact on mental and emotional health, so we’re very proud to have received this award as it recognises the high-quality care provided by our integrated team. Special thanks go to the infant feeding and health visiting colleagues who worked at pace to undertake audits with and feedback from parents, as well as supporting implementation of the standards into practice. Congratulations to all teams involved.
Breastfeeding provides many long-term health benefits and providing nothing but breast milk is recommended for the first six months of a baby’s life. Many families in the UK stop breastfeeding before they are ready to, and studies have shown that the availability of qualified support improves breastfeeding rates and the outcomes for both parents and babies
Here’s what two parents said:
“I had my first baby in 2020 and felt really on my own – I’m so very happy about all the help and support I have had this time around.”
“I've been really happy with my health visitor. I've felt very well supported. It has been beyond what I expected. As soon as I had an issue, someone rang me back or came around.”
The integrated early years’ service, including the Baby Feeding Team offer information and support to mums, dads and carers during pregnancy and after their baby is born – helping over the phone, online, at children’s centres or visiting families at home.
Every week, they offer baby feeding groups and baby bonding drop-ins, helping to get infant feeding and parent-infant relationships off to a good start.
The Baby Friendly Initiative works to support all families to develop close and loving relationships with their babies, and to feed them in ways that support health and development so they can get the best possible start in life.
Find out more about Camden’s Health Visiting and Integrated Early Years Service at cnwl.nhs.uk/services/community-services/camdens-health-visiting-and-family-support-service.
Read more about the UNICEF baby friendly initiative on the UNICEF website: unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/.
Further information on family support in Camden at families.camden.gov.uk.