We are working towards UNICEF best practice standards so that we can receive the prestigious Baby Friendly award, which is a nationally recognised mark of quality care.

We know that most 8 out of 10 women stop breastfeeding before they wanted to.

Implementing the UNICEF standards for ‘infant feeding and relationship building’ is proven to increase the number of women who choose to breastfeed and enables women to feed their baby for longer.

We are here to support you through your feeding journey.breastfeeding mums who have been supported by Mid Yorks NHS

The benefits of breastfeeding

Apart from the fact that breast milk is tailor-made for your baby, free, and always available and has an enormous impact on the health you and your baby. 

  • helps to fight infection – breast milk provides natural (germ killing) antibodies that help your baby fight infections like tummy bugs, diarrhoea, colds and chest and ear infections.
  • vitamins and nutrition – your breast milk provides the perfect combination of vitamins and nutrition, it’s also much easier to digest than first infant formula.
  • SIDS and childhood leukaemia – breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death, and childhood leukaemia.
  • long-term health – breastfed babies are less likely to develop diabetes, or become overweight when they are older.
  • decreased risk of tooth decay breastfeeding up to 12 months is associated with a decreased risk of tooth decay.

Any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial, but exclusively breastfeeding your baby for 6 months offers a lot more protection. There are benefits and advantages for you too – breastfeeding helps:

  • your uterus get back down to size – after your baby is born, your uterus (womb) will gradually get smaller day-by-day, but breastfeeding will help speed this up.
  • bonding with your baby – breastfeeding is a lovely way to feel close and strengthen the bond between you and your baby.
  • protect your health – breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis (weak bones), diabetes and cardiovascular disease (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels).
  • burn off calories – if you are exclusively breastfeeding, this will help burn off about 300 calories a day.

There are many benefits of carrying on breastfeeding after 6 months – your breast milk protects your baby from infections and there’s some evidence it helps them digest solid foods. (Source:

Please note: It can be difficult to resume breastfeeding once you have stopped feeding or using a breast pump, (however, it’s sometimes possible). Introducing formula feeds whilst breastfeeding reduces a mother’s breast milk supply.

  • Close and loving relationships help the baby’s brain development.
  • Breastfeeding supports close and loving relationships which help to reduce postnatal depression.
  • Mothers who do not breastfeed are more likely to suffer from breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Babies who are not breastfed are more likely to suffer from ear infections, diarrhoea and sickness, chest infections, obesity in later life and Sudden Infant Death (cot death).

Watch the video below to find out more:

For further informatioon, visit the UNICEF website.

During your pregnancy you should have at least three conversations with your midwife about:

  1. Skin to skin – The value of skin to skin contact and what this means for mother and baby.
  2. Responding to baby’s needs – How closeness, comfort and love can help a baby’s brain to develop. Responsive feeding and paced bottle feeding (where appropriate).
  3. Feeding- The value of breastfeeding as protection comfort and food. How to get feeding off to a good start.

Support offered after the birth includes:

  • Unhurried skin to skin contact
  • Recognising feeding cues
  • Offering the first feed in skin to skin contact

Support offered postnatally includes:

  • Appreciate the importance of closeness and responsiveness for mother/baby wellbeing
  • Hold their baby for feeding
  • Understand responsive feeding

Breastfeeding mothers are offered support to:

  • Hand express
  • Value exclusive breastfeeding
  • Understand how to know their baby is getting enough milk
  • Access help with feeding when at home

Mothers who formula feed are offered support on:

  • Sterilising equipment and making up feeds
  • Feeding their baby first milks
  • Paced bottle feeding
  • Limiting the number of people who feed their baby

Breastfeeding assessments

Breastfeeding assessments carried out using the breastfeeding assessment form (minimum of two in the first week) and an appropriate plan of care made. This may include referral for additional or specialist support.

There are 3 stages to UNICEF Breastfeeding Initiative 

Stage 1: A firm foundation – policies pathways and training programme

Stage 2: An educated work force – staff educated to UNICEF standards

Stage 3: Parents Experiences- interview parents to ensure the quality of the care

At our Trust we have achieved stage 1 and are working towards stage 2.

At each stage UNICEF visit the Trust to interview the leaders, the staff and the mothers to independently verify that there are systems in place to ensure that the standard of care offered to families around infant feeding and relationship building is UNICEF standard.

Watch the videos below for more tips on breastfeeding 

Video from UNICEF International Lactation Consultant Association, which breaks down some of the many myths surrounding breastfeeding:

Correct attachment to the breast

Video on attaching your baby at the breast:

How-to video on Back-lying Breastfeeding Position: