Supporting neonatal units to achieve Baby Friendly accreditation

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We are pleased to share the final report for the Burdett Project which ran from 2016-2019 and helped provide neonatal staff with the knowledge and skills required to implement the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative neonatal standards.

In 2016, the Baby Friendly Initiative received a grant from The Burdett Trust for Nursing to support implementation of the neonatal standards in six units across the UK.

Thirty-seven percent of neonatal units in the UK applied to take part in the Burdett Project. Through a competitive process, six units were selected. These units involved continue to lead the way in improving outcomes for babies and their families.

The units received support visits, staff training, audit and project management and generous support to cover assessment costs to gain UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation. This high level of support resulted in rapid progress. Currently, five of the units have achieved full accreditation and one unit has reached Stage 2.  Across each unit, the programme achieved significant change in capacity building, unit culture and care practice, including a range of innovations to improve care for parents and babies.

“We have empowered staff with knowledge and skills that will make a difference. It’s not all breastfeeding, it’s so much more – close relationships, parents as partners [and] whole cultural changes, as well as helping Mum. They learn what is in breastmilk and how important it is. It’s so much more than how to breastfeed.”– Neonatal lead

Ultimately, through increasing the consumption of breastmilk and rates of breastfeeding in preterm and sick babies, the project aimed to improve childhood health outcomes. More information on this, as well as key components that were identified as being essential to the programme’s success and an evaluation of results, can be found in the document download link on this page.