Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding
What is the Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI)?
Baby Friendly Health Initiative is a World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF a worldwide program launched in 1991 following the Innocenti Declaration of 1990 that aims at creating a health care environment that supports mothers and babies to have the best start in life. This may have evolved in your country to suit your specific needs and some examples are; the BFI (Baby Friendly Initiative), BFHI (Baby Friendly Health Initiative) or Baby and Mother Friendly Hospital Initiative. It aims at improving the care of pregnant women, mothers and newborns at health facilities that provide maternity services for protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding, in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
Creating a health care environment where Breastfeeding is the norm, Practices known to promote the health and well-being of all babies and their mothers are followed.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding is the minimum global standard by which hospital facilities are assessed and accredited. A ‘Baby Friendly’ facility is one where a mothers’ informed choice of infant feeding is supported, respected and encouraged. Community Health has seven steps.
Baby Friendly Accreditation is a quality improvement measure which demonstrates that a facility offers the highest standard of care to all mothers and babies. Attaining accreditation reflects the commitment of the facilities staff.
To achieve this standard, midwives and other carers obtain an increased knowledge of infant feeding, greater skills and commitment to facilitate breastfeeding. This engenders an environment that encourages best practice, improving the health of new generations.(bfhi.org.au). See additional links below for more information.
Angela Smith, RN CM IBCLC FILCA Nurse Unit Manager
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Sydney Australia BFHI Accredited 2011
Cathy Holland RN, BS, IBCLC, FACCE, LCCE
Over my 46 years as a registered nurse, Women’s Health, focusing on lactation and birth using both traditional and energy medicine to facilitate success is my passion.
Trish MacEnroe Executive Director
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
Cindy Turner-Maffei, MA, IBCLC National Coordinator
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
1. Why should a hospital work toward BFHI certification?
Angela Smith (AS): All hospitals want to provide the best possible care they can and we know that the BFHI accreditation is the Gold Standard in not only Breastfeeding Care but in excellent Postnatal care generally.
Cathy Holland (CH): BFHI accreditation indicates the facility is making efforts to show the community they value infant nutrition, over free products from companies who are more interested in $$$$$$ than mother-baby health.
Trisha & Cindy (TC): The Baby-Friendly Designation is the globally recognized symbol of world-class maternity care practices that lead to optimal infant feeding outcomes. In this process birth facilities
- deliver patient-centered care
- improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction
- increase community recognition of excellence
- enhance a professional environment of competence, including leadership and team skills
- demonstrate a commitment to quality improvement
- meet corporate compliance requirements
In the US this may also
- improve m-PINC scores
- meet Joint Commission maternity care standards for exclusive breast milk feeding
- lead the way to achieving Healthy People 2020 goals for breastfeeding
2. Why should expectant parents choose a BFHI facility?
AS: Expectant parents like the rest of the population these days will search the internet looking for the hospital that provides the best service. By being BFHI accredited the new parents are reassured that the hospital they have chosen has gone “the extra mile” and will provide them with First class care.
CH: Securing the best possible care should be a concern. Often the choice of facility is “where they have insurance coverage.” A BFHI facility has made an effort, greater than that which is required of them. Having this designation could nudge the insurance payers to notice the BFHI facility. Health and $$$$$ savings are the expected outcomes.
TC: Baby-Friendly birth facilities have taken special steps to create the best possible environment for bonding with and feeding your baby. The Initiative celebrates hospitals and birth centers that have put in place policies and practices to enable parents to make informed choices about how they feed and care for their babies. Birthing facilities voluntarily seek out this designation as a demonstration of their commitment to new families.
3. What does BFHI mean for us (me/my baby/my family)?
AS: The idea of BFHI means quality for each group. For staff it means they know they are working in a hospital that is not frightened of accreditation but is proud of its achievements. For new parents and families it gives them peace of mind that the facility they have chosen is committed to breastfeeding and giving quality care.
CH: The BFHI means the health facility in my neighborhood is prepared to offer the best possible start for families. Creating health in every way is a great philosophy for a facility.
TC: In a Baby-Friendly birth facility you will have the opportunity to hold your baby skin to skin immediately following birth, you will be able to have your baby stay with you in your room during your entire hospital stay and you will have the confidence in knowing that you are being cared for by highly trained staff who can help you learn to respond to your baby’s specific needs. Staff will also help you to identify supportive resources in your community to help you with infant feeding after you go home.
4. What is some recent research or statistics relating to BFHI?
AS: ‘Baby Friendly’ accredited hospitals in Australia is 77 which is 23% of all Australian hospitals providing maternity services (based on approximate number of facilities being 330).
TC: US STATISTICS
114 designated hospitals http://babyfriendlyusa.org/eng/03.html
4.5% of births take place in Baby-Friendly Hospitals http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/2011BreastfeedingReportCard.pdf
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding have been demonstrated to increase both initiation and duration of breastfeeding
DiGirolamo AM, LM.Grummer-Strawn and SB Fein. 2008. Effect of Maternity-Care Practices on Breastfeeding Pediatrics122;S43-S49
Merten, S, et al. 2005. Do Baby-Friendly Hospitals Influence Breastfeeding Duration on a National Level? Pediatrics 116; e702-e708.
Philipp BL et al. 2001. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Improves Breastfeeding Initiation Rates in a US Hospital Setting. Pediatrics 108(3):677-681.
DiGirolamo AM, LM Grummer-Strawn, S Fein. 2001. Maternity care practices: implications for breastfeeding. Birth 28:94-100.
Kramer MS et al. 2001. Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT): A randomized trial in the Republic of Belarus. JAMA 285:413
For more information check out these sites: