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.
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