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. The BFHI assists hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.
The Cherese Mari Laulher BirthCare Center at Miller Children’s & Women's was designated as a Baby-Friendly birth facility in 2018, and encourages mothers to exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months of their baby’s life. Breastfeeding is the ultimate prevention tool and the benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby are overwhelming.
Why Choose A Baby-Friendly Hospital
Baby-Friendly maternity and birthing centers have taken special steps to create the best possible environment for successful breastfeeding. Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing centers have put in place policies and practices to enable parents to make informed choices about how they feed and care for their babies. Hospitals and birth centers that have implemented the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” create an optimal environment for the initiation of breastfeeding.
Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within an hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice "rooming in" by allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no artificial nipples, pacifiers, dummies, or soothers to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birthing center.