Babies and Children
- Feeding - Baby-Friendly Initiative
What is the Baby-Friendly Initiative?
The Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI):
- Is a world wide effort launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF in 1991
- Aims to put into place practices that protect, promote and support the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding for the first 2 years of life and beyond
- Acknowledges that breastfeeding is the recommended and normal choice for mothers and infants
- Recognizes families need to be supported to make informed feeding decisions without the influence of formula marketing
- Requires that all families regardless of feeding method are supported to feed their children in a safe and nurturing way
- Does not discriminate against women who formula feed their babies; It is designed to respect the individual informed decision of the mother
Why the BFI?
The Baby-Friendly Initiative is identified as a Public Health Accountability Agreement for 2011 to 2013. All Public Health Units in Ontario are now required to maintain or progress toward a BFI designation and report their BFI status to the ministry annually.
In Ontario, the percentage of women who initiated breastfeeding was 87.1% and the percentage of women who reported exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months was 27.3% in 2011. (Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 105-0501 and Catalogue no. 82-221-X)
What does it take for a Health Unit to become Baby Friendly?
In order to achieve the BFI designation, hospitals and community health services need to meet the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada’s BFI Integrated 10 Steps Practice Indicators
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care providers and volunteers.
- Ensure all health care providers have the knowledge and skills necessary to implement the breastfeeding policy.
- Inform pregnant women and their families about the importance and process of breastfeeding.
- Place babies in uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately following birth for at least an hour or until completion of the first feeding or as long as the mother wishes. Encourage mothers to recognize when their babies are ready to feed, offering help as needed.
- Assist mothers to breastfeed and maintain lactation should they face challenges including separation from their infants.
- Support mothers to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months, unless supplements are medically indicated.
- Facilitate 24 hour rooming-in for all mother-infant dyads (mothers and infants remain together.
- Encourage baby-let or cue-based breastfeeding. Encourage sustained breastfeeding beyond 6 months with appropriate introduction of complementary foods.
- Support mothers to feed and care for their breastfeeding babies without the use of artificial teats or pacifiers.
- Provide a seamless transition between the services provided by the hospital, community health services and peer support programs. Apply principles of Primary Health Care and Population Health to support the continuum of care and implement strategies that affect the broad determinants that will improve breastfeeding outcomes.
What is the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit doing to support the BFI?
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is committed to becoming designated as Baby-Friendly:
- Our staff are trained to support families to make an informed decision around infant feeding
- Our prenatal classes provide information about:
- The benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of formula feeding
- Baby’s hunger cues and signs of fullness
- How to initiate breastfeeding and where to seek help if needed
- We advocate and promote skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and often in the days, weeks and months that follow
- Working with hospitals and community partners in LGL to improve breastfeeding outcomes and increase supports in the tri-county
Infant Feeding Survey
The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit will be conducting a 5-minute survey about the infant feeding choices new mothers make so that we can help improve services for mothers and babies in your area. Only those who have agreed to participate in the survey at the time of their most recent baby’s birth will be contacted. Participation in the survey is voluntary and you can choose to skip questions or end the survey at any time. Please be assured that refusal of any kind at any stage of the survey will not affect the care or services you receive. The information obtained in this survey will be treated in accordance with the Personal Health Information Privacy and Protection Act (PHIPPA). We sincerely thank you for your cooperation.
For more information about the Baby-Friendly Initiative, check the following links: