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The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative in Scotland

The Baby Friendly Initiative is a worldwide programme of the World Health Organization and UNICEF. It was established in 1992 (1994 in the UK) to encourage maternity hospitals to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and to practise in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

The health and well-being of all babies is at the heart of the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative. A strong mother-baby relationship is the foundation for a baby’s future health and wellbeing. Breastfeeding supports this loving bond and makes a vital difference to health.

The Baby Friendly Initiative works with UK public services (maternity, public health nursing, neonatal units and early years settings) to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding and to strengthen mother-baby and family relationships. Support for these relationships is important for all babies, not only those who are breastfed.

Research shows that Baby Friendly accreditation leads to an increase in breastfeeding initiation rates. Breastfeeding initiation rates in Scotland increased from 55% in 1995 to 74% in 2010, according to the 2010 Infant Feeding Survey. As of September 2013, 81% of birth in Scotland take place in Baby Friendly-accredited hospitals, with all hospitals and CHPs in Scotland working towards accreditation.

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