Baby-Friendly birth facilities have taken special steps to create the best possible environment for successful breastfeeding.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is an international program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 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. Hospitals and birth centers that have implemented the Ten Steps create an optimal environment for the initiation of breastfeeding.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding 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 an hour of birth.
5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.
6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
7. Practice “rooming in” by allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9. Give no artificial nipples, pacifiers, dummies, or soothers to breastfeeding infants.
10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birthing center.
According to the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative put forth by the Coaliztion for Improving Maternity Services, a mother-friendly hospital, birth center, or home birth service implements all of the following:
1. Offers all birthing mothers:
2. Provides accurate descriptive and statistical information to the public about its practices and procedures for birth care, including measures of interventions and outcomes.
3. Provides culturally competent care—that is, care that issensitive and responsive to the specific beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s ethnicity and religion.
4. Provides the birthing woman with the freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of her choice during labor and birth (unless restriction is specifically required to correct a complication), and discourages the use of the lithotomy (flat on back with legs elevated) position.
5. Has clearly defined policies and procedures for:
6. Does not routinely employ practices and procedures that are unsupported by scientific evidence, including but not limited to the following:
other interventions are limited as follows:
7. Educates staff in non-drug methods of pain relief, and does not promote the use of analgesic or anesthetic drugs not specifically required to correct a complication.
8. Encourages all mothers and families, including thosewith sick or premature newborns or infants with congenital problems, to touch, hold, breastfeed, and care for their babies to the extent compatible with their conditions.
9. Discourages non-religious circumcision of the newborn.
10. Strives to achieve the WHO-UNICEF “Ten Steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative” to promote successful breastfeeding:
You can find more information at the CIMS website: http://www.motherfriendly.org/MFCI