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Blossom Sure Start wins UNICEF’s international Baby Friend Award

Blossom Sure Start in Portadown has become the first project of its kind in the Southern Health Trust Area to be awarded the prestigious Baby Friendly Award.

It is the latest UK health care facility to win this international recognition from UNICEF.

The award was presented by Janet Calvert, Baby Friendly Initiative Advisor and Breast Feeding Lead for Northern Ireland, to Sandra Hewitt, Midwife and Breast Feeding Coordinator at the Southern Trust.

“Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy as well as asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life,” explains Sandra.

“We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of some cancers – although mums might be more interested in hearing that it is easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.”

Fiona Milligan, Project Manager at Blossom Sure Start, said: “We decided to join forces with UNICEF UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers in the Portadown area and in particular those within Blossom Sure Start.

“But however a mum chooses to feed her baby, she can be sure that she will be supported to form a strong loving relationship with her newborn – through having maximum skin to skin contact and understanding how her baby communicates with her and needs her to respond. Blossom Sure Start offers additional services to support relationship building for both parents regardless of feeding choice through antenatal feeding workshops, breast feeding support, antenatal classes and baby massage.”

Northern Ireland’s Regional Breastfeeding Coordinator Janet Calvert adds: “We are delighted that Blossom Sure Start has achieved full Baby Friendly status. Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mums at Blossom Sure Start can be confident that their midwives and health visitors will provide high standards of care.”

For more information on Breast Feeding support or for details of Blossom Sure Start services contact the team on 028 3833 7455 or visit

Photograph: Fiona Milligan (standing, second from right), manager of Blossom Sure Start, and Sandra Hewitt (standing, second from left), Midwife and Breast Feeding Coordinator, with the breastfeeding support group and Janet Calvert (standing, centre), Baby Friendly Initiative Advisor and Breast Feeding Lead for Northern Ireland.

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