Baby-Friendly Hospitals

San Diego’s First Baby-Friendly Hospital

Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas was the first hospital in San Diego County to receive the designation of Baby-Friendly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program that encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. The goal of the Baby-Friendly program is to give every baby the best start in life by creating a health care environment where breastfeeding education is a priority and mother-baby contact is the norm.

Being baby-friendly

A Baby-Friendly hospital is one that does not accept free or low-cost formula to give to their patients. These facilities also follow UNICEF’s ten steps to successful breastfeeding which include:

  • A written breastfeeding policy that is regularly communicated to staff
  • All clinical staff are trained to implement the breastfeeding policy
  • All patients are educated on the benefits of breastfeeding during pregnancy
  • New mothers are aided in breastfeeding within half an hour of delivery
  • New mothers are shown how to breastfeed and maintain lactation even if separated from their baby
  • Newborns are not given any additional food or drink unless medically necessary
  • Rooming-in is practiced
  • Breastfeeding on demand is encouraged
  • Artificial soothers such as pacifiers are not given to breastfeeding infants
  • Free breastfeeding support groups are offered