The neonatal unit at Forth Valley Royal has been recognised for the support it gives new mothers breastfeeding babies.
The hospital has been awarded a certificate of commitment – its first step towards gaining international recognition from the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative.
Elaine Ronald, NHS Forth Valley’s infant feeding advisor, explained: “We decided to join forces with the Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers and families within our Neonatal Unit.”
In the UK, the global programme works with health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high-quality support to enable successful breastfeeding.
Neonatal midwife Val Sneddon said: “Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes later in life.
“We also know breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers.”
Baby Friendly Initiative programme director Sue Ashmore said: “We are delighted that the neonatal unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital has received this award.
“Surveys show us most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need.
“Families within Forth Valley have the satisfaction of knowing that we are aiming to provide the highest standard of care.”