What is a Baby-Friendly Hospital?

Regional Medical Center in Anniston is the only Baby-Friendly hospital in Alabama, but most people don’t know what that means.

There are two ways to explain how a hospital can become Baby-Friendly :

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding.

The BFHI assists hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.

Hospitals that are BFHI certified follow the following criteria:

  1. Have breastfeeding policies that are communicated to all staff.
  2. Train all health care staff to implement the policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women of the benefits of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers intitiate breastfeeding within one half-hour of birth.
  5. Teach mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medicially indicated.
  7. Allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Help establish breastfeeding support groups.

For a second, more entertaining explanation, watch this video 🙂

When deciding where to have your baby, make sure you choose RMC, a Baby-Friendly hospital. And, of course, we hope that you choose me (Dr. Johannson), a “baby-friendly” obstetrician for your care.