The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative standards for neonatal units were created in recognition of the need for clear guidance on what constitutes best practice for breastfeeding when babies are preterm or ill and separated from their mothers.
Neonatal units are included to a limited extent within the Baby Friendly best practice standards for maternity units. Maternity units seeking Baby Friendly accreditation are expected to ensure that all staff working on the neonatal unit are trained to support breastfeeding adequately. We also assess the information and support given on expressing breastmilk to mothers who are separated from their baby. The neonatal unit standards expand on this good practice and provide guidance on the specific standards required in order to allow neonatal unit staff to fully promote, protect and support breastfeeding in their clinical area.
The best practice standards were developed by an expert sub-committee of the Baby Friendly Initiative’s Steering Committee. The sub-committee included expert clinicians and representatives of professional bodies, teaching establishments, service providers and mother support groups.
The neonatal unit standards are intended to provide guidance on best practice. Currently, UNICEF UK does not provide an accreditation programme for neonatal units
For information about the Breastfeeding and lactation management for neonatal staff course, click here.
Please note: The Baby Friendly Initiative has recently published new standards, which use new evidence and best practice to build on the existing standards, and which will be introduced during 2013-14. Read the standards to find out more.
If you are currently working towards Baby Friendly accreditation and wish to talk to a member of the Baby Friendly team about how the new standards may affect your planning, please contact a member of the team.