Working toward Baby-Friendly

I recently read an interesting article claiming that in their dedication to Baby-Friendly designation, some hospitals are becoming “mother-unfriendly.”  The author admits that overall, the parents she communicated with for the article had positive experiences with Baby-Friendly hospitals.

However, the author reports one mom felt pressured into breastfeeding and another felt shameful for putting her baby in the nursery.

As Nikki Lee, RN, BSN, MS, Mother of 2, IBCLC,RLC, CCE, CIMI, CST (cert.appl.), ANLC, CKC puts it, this is an article about change and resistance.

“Both are normal and to be expected,” she writes.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched to encourage and recognize facilities that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. The fact is, national breastfeeding rates show that mothers are not meeting recommended infant feeding guidelines NOR are we meeting our personal breastfeeding goals.

Fortunately, BFHI assists birthing facilities in giving all mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding our babies or feeding formula safely. [Retrieved from: https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/about-us/baby-friendly-hospital-initiative]

The following is a video about two teams in National Institute for Children’s Health Quality’s (NICHQ) Best Fed Beginnings initiative as they take the final steps toward becoming Baby-Friendly designated and reflect back on the journey of this groundbreaking, nationwide quality improvement project.

To learn more about NICHQ, visit http://www.nichq.org/.

To learn more about getting started on your journey to Baby-Friendly designation, click here.

One Reply to “Working toward Baby-Friendly”

  1. In my experience, along the BFHI journey staff do sometimes struggle with how to counsel women who are not planning to breastfeed. In this learning curve, some staff seem to feel it’s their job to convert women to the breastfeeding channel. That’s not the expectation of the BFHI..but it is a common misperception about the initiative. I have empathy for women who encounter repeated interactions focused on breastfeeding, which is often perceived as disappointment and even disapproval of women’s plans.

    Bottom line: once a staff member has engaged a woman in an educational exploration of her feeding choice, her decision should be documented and respected. Rather than having to discuss her decision again with every new staff member, she should be able to claim her choice, and then be supported in safe and effective feeding of her baby.

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