Unfortunately, evaluations of the effectiveness of the UNICEF UK baby-friendly initiative's breastfeeding training courses for health professionals were published too late to be included in Lisa Fairbank and Sue O'Meara's excellent report on breastfeeding promotion ('On the evidence', pages 32-33, 10 August).
Increases in knowledge, skills and positive attitudes as well as increased confidence in supporting breastfeeding mothers and babies were found among course participants interviewed six months after attending the course.
1More pertinently, a survey of 22 baby-friendly hospitals (representing a total of over 36,000 births per year) has found an increase of more than 10 per cent in the average breastfeeding initiation rate around the time of accreditation.
The percentage of babies breastfed rose from 59.99 per cent two years before the units received their baby-friendly award to 70.64 per cent a year after their accreditation.
Readers interested in learning more about the baby-friendly initiative can tour our website at: www.babyfriendly.org.uk/ph
Andrew Radford UNICEF UK baby-friendly initiative London
1 Dinwoodie K, Bramwell R, Dykes Fetal . The Baby-Friendly breastfeeding management course. Brit J of Midwifery 2000; 8: 362-6.
2 UNICEF UK Baby-Friendly Initiative (2000). Baby-Friendly hospitals show strong increase in breastfeeding rates. Baby-Friendly News no 6, July 2000.