Our commissioned Public Health Nurses are committed to their full accreditation of the Baby Friendly Initiative standards as a Health provider. As a local authority who commission the Public Health Nursing service, we are committed to the continuation of this.
Devon County Council recognises that alongside the Public Health Nursing provision, Devon County Council as a wider organisation is committed to protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding through advocacy to the whole of its population, whether they be a member of the public or a member of our staff.
To achieve this, we support the implementation of the Baby Friendly Initiative Healthcare Standards (BFI) and adapt these to our local authority services where appropriate.
Supporting the BFI Standards
Stage One: Building a firm foundation
- We will have a written signed breastfeeding statement for the wider organisation of Devon County Council that is routinely communicated to all staff. We will share this with all new starters via our electronic induction system and, where appropriate, will have a routine reminder of this policy through our annual training updates.
- We will continue to show commitment to maintaining an evidence-based level of understanding in relation to infant feeding. This will inform our commissioning and our wider public health agendas for us to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
- We will review our Infant Feeding Strategy every two years to ensure that we are still meeting population need.
- We will continue to ensure an efficient data collection system exists, that enables us as a local authority to monitor breastfeeding within our communities with a view to meeting the needs of families. We will continue to evaluate this system to address weaknesses in the data collection system.
- We will work collaboratively with our partners to fulfil our Infant Feeding Strategy aims and, whilst doing this, we will hold central the well-being of the baby and their mother / parents.
Stage Two: An educated workforce
- We will maintain a level of education that enables staff within, not only our Public Health department, but also our leadership team across the Local authority, to recognise the health and wellbeing benefits of breastfeeding.
- We will raise the profile of breastfeeding across all our departments through social media postings, and Public Health England and local campaigns.
Stage Three: Parents’ infant feeding experience
Within our remit as a local authority we will:
- Support the appropriate wider strategic health and wellbeing agendas that enable women and men to recognise the importance of breastfeeding and early relationships for the health and well-being of their baby.
- Advocate that the appropriate wider strategic agendas, where possible, support infrastructure which promotes, protects and supports breastfeeding for every mother and every baby.
- Recognise that breastfeeding has multifaceted complex challenges within our population, however we will work with national and local campaigns to support responsive feeding for all babies. Through our Infant Feeding Strategy, we will work towards building the infrastructure within our communities, workplaces, public and private organisations to protect, support and promote breastfeeding and healthy eating.
Supporting the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
We will also work within the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and promote healthy infant feeding decision making for all staff and members of the public.
We will support the relevant provisions of the marketing code within our premises:
- We will not advertise any breastmilk substitutes.
- We will not give free samples of any product that promotes bottle feeding.
- We will encourage our partners working within healthcare facilities to adhere to the code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes.
- We will not support any contact of parents from formula company representatives.
- We will not accept any gifts or personal samples from any company linked with formula companies.
- We will not in any of our contact with parents use words or pictures idealising artificial feeding.
- We will ensure that our information provided to staff and our population is scientific and factual.
- When discussing formula infant feeding, we will recognise the evidence base regarding the risks of not breastfeeding.
- Our guidance will support families with robust infant feeding information therefore reducing unsuitable products entering a child’s diet.
Supporting the promotion and protection of breastfeeding within Devon County Council
- We will participate in efforts to protect, promote and support breastfeeding as the cultural norm as per our Infant Feeding strategy.
- We will encourage breastfeeding as the preferred method of infant feeding.
- All frontline staff working in DCC’s premises which are accessible to the public should support breastfeeding by adopting the following:
- Breastfeeding mothers will be given the freedom within public areas to choose where to breastfeed; the presence of a breastfeeding room does not mean that she must choose to use the room.
- Breastfeeding mothers will be welcomed when on the premises and will not be asked to cover up or move to another area when breastfeeding.
- If a mother wishes to have more privacy to breastfeed, she will be offered an appropriate location as far as practicable. Toilets or restrooms are not appropriate places for feeding babies and will not be offered.
- We will support breastfeeding mothers if they encountered difficulties and show kindness and respect.
- We will create a positive and supportive environment within our local authority buildings (for example, by displaying breastfeeding positive posters in public areas and, as far as practicable, providing a private space for breastfeeding clients).
Supporting Devon County Council as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace
- We will recognise the need to support employees to continue breastfeeding after returning to work.
- Employees who plan or need to express breastmilk during working hours should approach their supervisors to work out an appropriate arrangement through supportive discussion whilst completing a risk assessment with their line manager.
- Line managers should support breastfeeding employees on return to work by providing an enabling environment for those who are breastfeeding. Specific measures include the following:
- Allowing lactation breaks (one 30 minute break every four hours) for expression of breastmilk for at least one year after childbirth, and to adopt a flexible approach thereafter.
- Provide somewhere for hand washing which does not involve a public toilet.
- Provide a private space with a comfortable chair and an electric outlet for operating the breast pump.
- Provide refrigerating facilities for safe storage of expressed breastmilk. There is an expectation that the employee will ensure that this would be clearly marked and placed in a separate box within the fridge to prevent colleagues from opening it by accident.
- All other staff members are requested to support their colleagues to breastfeed by adopting a positive and accepting attitude.
- Consider if needed, flexible approaches to enable the continuation of breastfeeding when a baby will not take milk from a bottle. This might involve the baby’s carer attending the offices, at the cost of the mother, for the 30 minute break every four hours, to allow the mother to breastfeed. This would need a separate risk assessment undertaking.