Working in partnership to support infant feeding

Every parent wants to give their baby the best start in life. For those who choose to breastfeed and are able to, breastfeeding provides health benefits for infants that can last a lifetime as well as protecting the health of the breastfeeding mother

Photo of Debra Hennessy (L) Debbie McCoy (R)
Debra Hennessy (L) Debbie McCoy (R)

The Government of Jersey is committed to improving the health of Islanders through public health policy and supports the implementation of the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) across both Health Visiting and Maternity services.

The Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) is an evidence-based programme developed by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation to enable public services to better support families with feeding, developing close, loving relationships and ensuring that all babies get the best possible start in life.

The Programme identifies clear requirements for the achievement of three separate stages with full BFI accreditation achieved at stage three; resulting in a sustainable breastfeeding service.

In Jersey, Health and Community Services (HCS) and Family Nursing and Home Care (FNHC) work collaboratively to provide specialist-feeding support to expectant and new mothers.

HCS are currently working towards stage 2 accreditation where focus is on staff training and enabling practitioners to support women with establishing early and effective feeding.

Debbie McCoy, Specialist Infant Feeding Midwife facilitates this both in the community and hospital through regular training updates, staff audit and supporting parents with making an informed choice on feeding their baby and provides tools and tips to support feeding in the early days after their baby is born.

FNHC are currently working towards stage 3 of the accreditation, which measures performance from the perspective of service users through parental audit.

Debra Hennessy, BFI Breastfeeding Specialist Health Visitor, leads the programme and provides support to mothers and families until parents choose to end their breastfeeding journey.

If you would like to know more about breastfeeding, or access support, speak to your midwife or Health Visitor who will discuss feeding options with you during your antenatal contact and give you information that will enable you to get breastfeeding off to a good start.

Baby Steps is a perinatal parenting programme that includes all aspects of infant feeding to ensure you have the knowledge you need to make informed choices that meet the need of your individual circumstances.

After your baby is born, maternity staff in the hospital will be there to offer practical help and support from birth and until discharge into the care of the Health Visitors.

Your Health Visitor will then take over your care and provide support in the home or through Breastfeeding Buddies, which is a Specialist Breastfeeding Clinic based at Pips Place in town.

Call the Duty Health Visitor 01534 449135 if you wish to access breastfeeding support or attend the Breastfeeding clinic.

This blog has been written by Debbie McCoy, Specialist Infant Feeding Midwife, Health and Community Services and Debra Hennessy, BFI Breastfeeding Specialist Health Visitor, Family Nursing and Home Care.

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