5 Reasons You Should Choose A Baby-Friendly Hospital 

5 Reasons You Should Choose A Baby-Friendly Hospital 

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.

In Australia, the BFHI is administered by the Australian College of Midwives.  You can find a list of baby-friendly hospitals in Australia here.

Here are 5 reasons you should choose an accredited baby-friendly hospital to give birth in.

#1: Women Are More Likely To Initiate Breastfeeding

Research from the UK has found women who give birth at a baby-friendly hospital are 10%15% more likely to initiate breastfeeding as comparted to women who give birth at a non-accredited hospital.

#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 in Norway and Australia has found that women who given birth in a baby-friendly hospital are more likely to breastfeed exclusively compared with those who received routine care.

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.

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Renee Kam is a mother of two daughters, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a physiotherapist, author of 'The Newborn Baby Manual' and an Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor. In her spare time, Renee enjoys spending time with family and friends, horse riding, running and reading.

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