The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (1989)

In 1989, UNICEF launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFI)

This initiative was launched to address the problem of lack of breastfeeding knowledge among health care professionals.

The goal was to make the immediate period after birth more conducive to successful breastfeeding.

In order for a hospital to qualify as ‘Baby-Friendly’ they have to successfully complete 10 steps.

Canada got its first baby-friendly hospital in 1999

There are no hospitals within Calgary that are currently certified baby-friendly. We come pretty close to meeting almost every requirement.

Here are the 10 steps a hospital must complete:

  1. It must have a written breastfeeding policy that is consistent, covers the 10 points and is communicated to all staff.

  2. All staff members who have dealings with pregnant women, new mothers or their families must be trained to put into practice the breastfeeding policy.

  3. Staff must inform all pregnant women of the advantages of breastfeeding and teach them the basics of breastfeeding management

  4. Staff must place babies skin-to-skin  with the mother immediately following birth for at least an hour and encourage mothers to recognize when their babies are ready to breastfeed, offering help if needed.

  5. Staff must help the mother initiate lactation and teach her  how to maintain her milk supply if she and her baby must be separated

  6. Staff must not give supplements of any kind to breastfed babies except when there is a legitimate medical reason

  7. Staff must allow the mother and baby to room in together 24  hours/day.

  8. Staff must encouraged breastfeeding as the baby needs it. This means feeding on-demand and not a schedule

  9. The staff must give no artificial nipples to breastfeeding babies. No soothers!!

  10. The hospital must encourage the establishment of support groups outside and ensure that new mothers are referred  to them on discharge