A BREASTFEEDING initiative at the University of Chester has been praised by an international charity.

The university has been awarded a certificate of commitment as the first step towards gaining international recognition from the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) for the high levels of training in breastfeeding provided to students on the health visiting programme.

Fiona Lee, senior lecturer community health and wellbeing,Šis leading the initiative.

She said: “It is well documented that many women give up breastfeeding because of difficulties which could have been prevented if help had been on hand. By ensuring our students are fully trained in how to help a mother breastfeed her child, more women will be able to breastfeed their babies for longer.”

The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by Unicef and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for all mothers and babies.

The certificate of commitment recognises that a university is dedicated to implementing recognised best practice standards in breastfeeding training. Fiona is working with Helen Carr, deputy head of community health and wellbeing to develop ‘breastfeeding days’.

BFI programme director Sue Ashmore said: “Surveys show us most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. The University of Chester is addressing this problem and aiming to ensure more mothers can successfully breastfeed their babies.”