The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding.
In order for a hospital or birth center to become Baby-Friendly they must satisfy the following 10 steps:
The Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding
The BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:
|1 -||Have 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.|
|6 -||Give newborn 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 breastfeeding on demand.|
|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|
Apparently this is harder than it seems.
There are only 86 Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the US (as of December 2009).
There are none in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada or Georgia, just to name a few.
The major barriers to becoming baby friendly in the United States are:
- Slow organization of an accreditation group, and
- The distribution of free breast milk substitutes by the formula manufacturers to hospitals in the United States.