Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Baby Friendly Initiative

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Baby Friendly Initiative

Article excerpt

WHO and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) release new guidance this month on how health decision-makers can ensure that mothers in all countries receive the optimal care and support they need to successfully breastfeed their babies.

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched by the two agencies in 1991 to provide guidance to maternity and newborn services on how best to support breastfeeding.

Almost all countries have implemented the initiative. However, more than a quarter of a century later, coverage of the initiative at a facility level is low. As of 2017, only 10% of infants were born in a baby-friendly facility.

The initiative is based on the Ten steps to successful breastfeeding issued in 1989. The updated guidance reflects new evidence, proposing ways to overcome barriers to BFHI implementation and indicators to measure progress in its implementation.

Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in facilities providing maternity and newborn services: Implementing the revised Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative 2018 recommends institutional procedures to ensure that care is delivered consistently and ethically, and standards for the individual care of mothers and infants. …

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