Baby Friendly Initiative

See what your hospital can do to help increase Nevada’s breastfeeding rates.

What is the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative?

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for lactation.
The BFHI assists hospitals in giving breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.

The BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:

  • 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 newborn 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 pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  • Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic

In July 2013 Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center in Carson City became Nevada’s first Baby-Friendly hospital. Following shortly thereafter, the St. Rose Dominican Hospitals Siena and San Martin campuses in Las Vegas and Henderson achieved Baby-Friendly status. We would like to congratulate these hospitals on receiving Baby-Friendly designation!

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