The Baby Friendly Hospital and Ten Steps to
Pregnant women who are planning on breastfeeding should try
to find a certified Baby Friendly Hospital in their area. In 1991 the World Health Organization and
Unicef launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, the BFHI. The goal of the BFHI is to encourage
hospitals to become more supportive of breastfeeding. In order to be considered baby friendly, the hospital must
routinely implement the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. The 10 steps to successful breastfeeding are
all research based and proven to help women breastfeed their babies.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
Every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants
- Have a written
breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care
- Train all health care staff
in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women
about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate
breastfeeding within half an hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to
breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated
from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no
food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming-in – that
is, allow mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on
- Give no artificial teats or
pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on
discharge from the hospital or clinic.
If you are unable to find a “baby friendly” hospital in your area, try to find one
who’s policy includes most or all of the ten steps to successful breastfeeding
and come to your birth with a written plan that you expect the hospital staff
It is no coincidence that the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding are called
“baby friendly.” Being able to stay
with mom and breastfeed when she wants is certainly the friendliest welcome
that baby can have to her new world.