Maternity staff have achieved international recognition for their work to encourage breastfeeding and improve care for new mums.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has been given the Baby Friendly Award from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The number of women breastfeeding their babies in the district has almost doubled since Mid Yorkshire teamed up with UNICEF to encourage the practice.
A seven-year programme of work saw hundreds of trust staff trained to help with breastfeeding, along with 200 volunteers.
In 2007, 32 per cent of new mums in the Mid Yorkshire area chose to breastfeed their babies, a figure which now stands at 61 per cent.
Around 19 per cent of mums in the district are still breastfeeding their babies at six months old, compared to the national average of six per cent.
Breastfeeding coordinator Rachel Hauser said: “We decided to join forces with UNICEF UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers.
“We have a holistic approach to support with informed feeding.
“We have well-trained staff and that includes a healthcare assistant right up to a senior midwife who have the same training out in the community.
“Nursery nurses, staff nurses, anyone who comes into contact with mums and babies, is baby friendly.”
Jay Reape, 28, struggled to breastfeed her son Daniel after he was diagnosed with tongue-tie, a problem which happens when babies have a tight piece of skin between their tongue and the floor of their mouth.
But she was helped by staff at the trust and Wakefield District Families and Babies (FAB), on Brook Street, Wakefield, where midwives offer one-to-one support for mums.
She said: “Because I felt I wasn’t feeding him properly, I was getting so stressed and upset. The care I have received through the trust and through FAB has been brilliant.”