The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is an international designation that is encouraged by the World Health Organizations and UNICEF. Baby Friendly recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding mother/baby bonding. The University of Utah is the only hospital in Utah designated as Baby Friendly.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding consist of evidence-based practices that has shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration. Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing facilities must adhere to the Ten Steps to receive a Baby Friendly designation.

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 the skills necessary to implement this policy
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, 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 pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them or discharge from the hospital or birth center

Why Baby Friendly is important

We all know that breastfeeding is the best and natural way to feed a baby but more and more evidence is coming out showing that exclusivity of breastfeeding is much more important than originally thought. As a national, we need to look at ways to reduce illness. With increased exclusive breastfeeding, we can reduce obesity which in turn reduce other health problems.