Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative


The Belfast Trust Maternity Services have been successfully re-accredited with the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI). The health and well-being of all babies is at the heart of the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative, and at the heart of how we delivery our maternity services.


Our service first reveived the Baby Friendly accreditation in 2009. We recognise that a strong mother-baby relationship is the foundation for a baby’s future health and well-being. Breastfeeding supports this loving bond and can make a vital difference to a mother and baby’s health. As a Baby Friendly accredited service we promote and support best practice in relation to breastfeeding. We recognise that strong mother-baby and family relationships are important for all babies, not only those who are breastfed.

 In pregnancy, a woman can expect to have conversations about feeding her baby and ‘connecting’ with her baby.  After the birth we encourage all babies to have a period of skin to skin contact which promotes instinctive behaviour in the new-born, regulating the baby’s temperature breathing and heart rate, as well as calming the baby. Babies may instinctively breastfeed at this time. Responsive feeding is encouraged for all babies as mothers learn about feeding cues and the importance of frequent effective feeding. Support will be offered throughout the postnatal period to enable mothers, whether breast or bottle feeding to develop the skills necessary to feed their babies responsively.