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