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What is the Baby Friendly Health Initiative?

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF in 1990 and since then has been successfully introduced into over 15,000 facilities in 134 countries, including Australia in 1993.

UNICEF passed governance of BFHI within Australia to the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) in 1995, where it remains today. UNICEF Australia remains closely involved with BFHI and holds a position on the BFHI Advisory Committee.

In Australia in 2006, the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative became the Baby Friendly Health Initiative in order to more accurately reflect the expansion of the initiative into community health settings.

The role of BFHI is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. It does this by providing a framework for Baby Friendly hospitals to operate within called the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and in community facilities this is called the 7 Point Plan. These standards ensure all mothers and babies receive appropriate support and contemporary information in both the antenatal and postnatal period regarding infant feeding.

In a Baby Friendly accredited facility, breastfeeding is encouraged, supported and promoted. Breastfed babies are not given breastmilk substitutes (infant formula), dummies or teats unless medically indicated or it is the parents' informed choice. Regardless of feeding choices and circumstances, every woman is supported to care for her baby in the best and safest way possible.

If you have any questions about Baby Friendly accreditation, please contact the Programs Manager, Nicole Perriman, on 0417 544 824 or bfhi@midwives.org.au  

BFHI Information Pack

Please send an email to Nicole Perriman bfhi@midwives.org.au to obtain a free BFHI information pack to assist you in preparing for BFHI accreditation.

Is your local facility Baby Friendly?

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