Baby-Friendly Hospitals

The World Health Organization launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in 1991 to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother and baby bonding.  The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative recognizes and awards facilities who successfully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.  The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative assists facilities in providing mothers with support, information, confidence and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their baby.  In order for a hospital/birthing center to become a Baby-Friendly facility they must review policies and train staff in a manner that compels the facility to provide maternity care with a goal of achieving optimal infant feeding outcomes and mother/baby bonding.  As a mother planning to breastfeeding it is important to find a facility that fits your plan.  You can find Baby-Friendly centers in your area by visiting

Listen To The Experts

Baby-Friendly hospitals must adhere to The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding which were developed by a team of global experts and consist of evidence-based practices shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for a Baby-Friendly facility are as follows:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
  2. Train all healthcare 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 breast-mil, 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 of artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birthing center.

Find out more helpful breastfeeding tips and accessories here.