Baby friendly health initiative

The Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI) was developed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF in 1991 to improve infant health by supporting mothers to breastfeed their babies. It aims to treat every mother with respect, no matter how they are feeding their baby, and provide care, support and information before, during and after birth. In the ACT, the Canberra Hospital and Calvary Healthcare (Bruce campus) are accredited as BFHI.

10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

The 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding can help you understand what to expect from your hospital stay, and beyond. BFHI accredited facilities must meet certain standards which are:

1. Have a breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all staff

2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy

3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding

4. Place babies in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately following birth for at least an hour and encourage mothers to recognise when their babies are ready to breastfeed, offering help if needed

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 - allow mothers and infants to remain together - 24 hours a day

8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand

9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called 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 clinic.