The Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) was first established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF in 1991. The initiative is a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
Community Medical Center's Mother and Baby unit was designated in 2017, and this demonstrates the hospital’s commitment to the best practices outlined in the BFI ten steps and WHO code outcome indicators for hospitals and community health services.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding were developed by a team of global experts and consist of evidence-based practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration. Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing facilities must adhere to the Ten Steps to receive, and retain, a Baby-Friendly designation.
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in the 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 infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, 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 birth center.
Research has consistently shown the many benefits of mother’s milk as being the optimal nutritional source for infants, and the mother-baby bond of skin-to-skin.
A key practice is to place babies in uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately following birth for at least an hour or until completion of the first feeding or as long as the mother wishes. Families are assisted to recognize when their babies are ready to feed and help is offered as needed.
CMC supports families to make the most informed decision for infant feeding whether it is breastfeeding, bottle feeding or formula feeding.