A PROJECT which helps new parents form loving relationships with their baby has earned a special honour from children’s charity UNICEF.

Staff at the East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) are delighted to have achieved UNICEF accreditation for their Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI).

The HSCP has been declared a gold ‘baby friendly’ service following a rigorous assessment based on a global accreditation programme led by the charity and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

A team from the HSCP’s health visiting service use BFI to support breastfeeding, as well as parent and infant relationships.

It helps parents to have close and loving relationships with their baby by enabling them to touch, talk and care, as well as supporting skin-to-skin contact and responsive feeding.

Research has also shown that loving relationships with parents and families promote brain development in babies.

The partnership was highly commended for the way its services have been developed to ensure there are continued improvements in outcomes for babies, their mothers and families as a whole. Assessors also recognised the ‘ongoing excellence’ that training staff receive and the culture of kindness evident between staff and patients.

Julie Murray, chief officer for East Renfrewshire HSCP, said: “It’s a wonderful achievement to be recognised by UNICEF in this way.

“We are already seeing that the BFI standards are making a tangible difference to babies and their families in East Renfrewshire. It absolutely recognises the importance of empowering close, loving, parent-child relationships and the benefits achieved as a result.

“We’ve consciously developed our services to ensure we promote a culture which supports parents and nurtures in their role as parents – and have had great feedback from families.”