A Lothian hospital is to be commended for promoting breastfeeding.
|St John's Hospital in Livingstone is on track to being awarded Unicef's coveted Baby Friendly status in recognition of its commitment to encouraging breastfeeding.
Maternity staff at the hospital have worked with new mothers to improve rates of breastfeeding, which have soared by up to six per cent on last year.
Specially-trained midwives at St John's spend time teaching women the importance of skin-to-skin contact immediately after the birth and about why breastfeeding is so important for babies' health.
Women are also shown how to breastfeed in the most pain-free and effective way and a buddy scheme for newly trained midwives is also being developed as well as a drop-in centre for mothers having difficulties breastfeeding.
Unicef's Baby Friendly Initiative accredits maternity and community facilities that adopt internationally recognised standards of best practice in the care of mothers and babies.
It is awarded in stages and once in place, St John's will become a "centre of excellence" for breastfeeding.
Maria Wilson, chief midwife of NHS Lothian, explained: "Mothers and babies are already feeling the benefits because we are helping them to feed their babies the way they want to feed them.
"The benefits of breastfeeding will be explained to new mums, but for a variety of reasons it can still be difficult. Therefore we want to support women through the challenges and prevent them from taking the decision to stop."