The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was developed in response to several international declarations in 1990, which called for the worldwide promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding.
UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) recognised that hospitals can help influence breastfeeding outcomes, through practices such as rooming-in (having your baby with you in your room), minimising non-medically-indicated use of formula, and providing new mothers with support by informed health care providers.
Accredited baby-friendly hospitals must comply with the ‘Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding‘ established by WHO and UNICEF.
Here are 5 reasons you should choose an accredited baby-friendly hospital to give birth in.
#1: Women Are More Likely To Initiate Breastfeeding
#2: Improved Health Outcomes
Research undertaken in 19 countries across the USA, Europe, Asia and Africa found adherence to the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding was associated with:
- A reduced risk of gastrointestinal infections and eczema at one year of age
- A positive impact on children’s IQ and academic performance
- An increased likelihood of mothers breastfeeding subsequent children for at least 3 months.
#3: Women Are More Likely To Exclusively Breastfeed
Research from the UK found that women giving birth in a baby-friendly hospital were around 9% more likely to breastfeed exclusively at four and eight weeks as compared to women giving birth in non-accredited hospitals.
#4: Better Staff Breastfeeding Knowledge
Giving birth at a baby-friendly hospital means enhanced breastfeeding knowledge, skills, practices and attitudes of the hospital staff. It also improves maternal perception of support.
#5: More Consistent Advice
A common frustration for new parents is with regards to the conflicting advice they receive about breastfeeding. In baby-friendly hospitals there is a written policy which all staff understand and follow. This can help ensure you receive consistent and skilled breastfeeding assistance.
If you plan to give birth in a hospital, choosing a baby-friendly hospital means you have a greater chance of establishing breastfeeding successfully, exclusively breastfeeding for longer, and receiving consistent breastfeeding advice.