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.
Watch this video as Dr. Jennifer Hudson explains what it means to be a Baby-Friendly Hospital.
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 BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The ten steps for becoming a "Baby-Friendly" designated hospital in the United States are:
- 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 one hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice “rooming in,” allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
Our goal is to provide you with Family-centered Maternity Care (FCMC) on our way to becoming baby friendly. As part of FCMC and being baby friendly, we believe that every baby is special. That's why we practice three "Special Baby Rules (SBR)".
Skin to Skin
Skin to skin contact engages all senses: touch, hearing, sight, smell, and even taste. In the first hour after birth, skin to skin contact will help;
- Calm and relax mother and baby
- Baby stay warm and regulate blood sugar
- Stimulate feeding behavior like rooting and searching for he breast and improves newborn digestion
- Newborn's heart rate and breathing become more regular
- Breastfeeding become easier as hormones are naturally released to support natural feeding
- Protect against infection
Breastfeeding exclusively benefits your baby by decreased chance of ear infections, asthma, obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Other benefits include;
- Breastmilk is naturally made and changes to meet the growing needs of your newborn. Antibodies are passed to the infant through breastmilk providing immediate immunity that is not possible with other milk.
- Mom benefits from breastfeeding by decreased blood loss, reduced risk for postpartum depression, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, ovarian and breast cancer, plus you burn 500 calories per day.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced with continuation of breastfeeding for one year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.
Rooming in with your baby has advantages in addition to strengthening the bond between mother and baby.
- Your room is assigned to you and your baby. Plan to keep your baby with you so you can respond to feeding cues with the first signs of hunger. This will help your milk supply increase more quickly.
- It is okay to hold your baby as often as you like. Hearing your heartbeat and feeling your warmth helps your baby adjust to the new world outside your body.