Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative

March 20, 2011 at 12:16 am 1 comment

The baby friendly hospital initiative was a program launched by UNICEF and the WHO in 1991 to ensure that maternity units in hospitals became centers for breastfeeding support for all mothers.  In order for facilities to be considered ‘baby friendly’ they must not accept free or low cost breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles or teats, and must meet ten specific steps to support successful breastfeeding.  These ten steps are:

  1. Maintain a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants hospital or clinic
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated
  7. Practice “rooming in”–allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day
  8. Encourage unrestricted breastfeeding
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic

This process of converting hospitals to baby friendly locations is slow but steady, and is occurring not only nationally, but globally.  In the United States, however, there are currently only 73 baby friendly facilities.

The University Hospital in Utah has actually become the first baby friendly hospital in Utah.  This is such an amazing thing that needs to be promoted and continued throughout the state.  It is also something that needs to be applauded.  We need to get the support to open even more of these throughout the state, and help to create “an American culture that values the enduring benefits of breastfeeding and human milk for mothers, babies, and society” –Baby Friendly USA.G


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Overcoming Barriers to Breastfeeding The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. aklallatin  |  April 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    This is unique because changes the environment of the hospital to make breastfeeding easy. Having an educated staff is extremely important because new mother haven’t breastfeed and they need help and encouragement.


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