Baby Friendly Initiative helps QMU nurses give babies best start

By press office

Community health nurses at Queen Margaret University are delighted to achieve the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative which will help ensure babies get the best start in life. 

The Baby Friendly Initiative works with public services to ensure that families receive effective infant feeding support, helping them to make an informed choice about feeding, get breastfeeding off to a good start, overcome challenges and feed their babies responsively.  

The initiative is helping students on QMU’s PgDip Person Centred Practice Health Visiting course support families to develop close and loving relationships with their newborns and to understand the importance of this for their baby’s development. Having this training embedded in the course also helps to ensure that students gain this important knowledge at an early point in their education and are able to use the skills and knowledge immediately when working in practice.    

"The benefits of breastfeeding for babies, mothers and public health, are well established. It protects children from a vast range of illnesses including infection, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and cot death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), as well as obesity. It also protects mothers from breast and ovarian cancers and heart disease, and supports the mother-baby relationship and the mental health of both baby and mother. But, despite explicit commitment to promoting breastfeeding in the UK, there are still gaps in provision of support and rates remain lower than in many other high income countries."
Janet Dalzell, Professional Lead for Scotland, UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative,

 She continued: “In the UK, most women want to breastfeed but many face difficulties early on and eight out of ten stop before they want to. The provision of face-to-face, ongoing, and predictable breastfeeding support by trained personnel, starting during pregnancy and continuing through the postnatal period, can increase the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding. There is strong evidence for the Baby Friendly programme as a key intervention for supporting breastfeeding which is why this initiative is so important for the future health and relationships or mothers and babies.”  

"We are delighted to have achieved Stage 2 of the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Accreditation. This achievement means that our health visiting graduates of our PgDip Person Centred Practice Health Visiting course are now better equipped to help care and support new mothers in the development of the early relationships with their babies and on their feeding journeys. It also helps to emphasise infant feeding as a core and essential element throughout the health visitor’s year as a trainee and beyond."
Lisa Luhanga, Health Visiting Programme Lead at Queen Margaret University

Lisa continued: The way Queen Margaret University supports infant feeding is embedded in practice now, so it equips our graduates to go above and beyond to help mothers and their infants. It is also particularly helpful in the support of teenage mothers, enabling health visitors to best support these individuals at the very beginning of their feeding and childcare journey.”  

The nursing team is pleased to be able to feed knowledge from this initiative into other healthcare courses at the University, such as our BA Paramedic Science.

Lisa Luhanga concluded:

"It’s a win win situation - with mothers, babies, families and our graduates all benefiting."

Queen Margaret University joins the five universities across Scotland which have achieved the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative as part of their health visiting programmes.

Find out more about UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative at UNICEF Baby Friendly.

Notes to Editor

For further media information, contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, E:; M: 07711 011239 and copy to E: