The Baby-Friendly Initiative
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 1991 to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.
This initiative follows evidence-based best practices for all moms and babies including encouraging skin-to-skin contact between moms and babies.
The Baby-Friendly designation is given to hospitals who successfully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
Ochsner encourages breastfeeding and follows these Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming-in (allow mothers and infants to remain together) 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no artificial nipples or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes
Baby-friendly hospitals and birth centers uphold the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes by offering education and educational materials that promote human milk rather than other infant food and drinks, and by refusing to accept or distribute free or subsidized supplies of breast milk substitutes, nipples and other feeding devices.
Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge was the first hospital in the state of Louisiana to be designated as Baby-Friendly.
Ochsner’s other family birthing center locations across our system are also working toward receiving the Baby-Friendly designation.
For More Information
- Learn more about the Baby-Friendly initiative.
- For questions about breastfeeding your baby or breastfeeding resources, call our Warm Line at 504-842-5210.