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 Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. Baby-Friendly USA is the national authority for the BFHI in the United States.

Baby-Friendly USA envisions an American culture that values the enduring benefits of breastfeeding and human milk for mothers, babies, and society. In order to meet the Healthy People 2020 objectives, it is necessary to increase the number of live births that occur in facilities that fully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the maternity practice standards that form the basis of the BFHI. Facilities that have achieved this Gold-Standard designation have achieved full adoption of the Ten Steps.

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. created the 4-D Pathway for achieving the BFHI designation, which organizes the process into manageable and achievable tasks. There are four phases to the pathway. In the Discovery Phase, a birthing facility commits to the Baby-Friendly process by submitting an application to Baby-Friendly USA. After that, the facility works through the Development, Dissemination, and Designation phases, accessing technical assistance from Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. and receiving feedback on submitted policies, curricula, etc. Finally, the facility requests an onsite assessment by the Baby-Friendly assessment team and a review by the External Review Board. Upon successful completion of this review process, the Baby-Friendly designation is conferred. If the facility does not pass on first assessment, it may apply for reassessment when identified problems have been rectified. Fees are associated with each phase of the 4-D pathway, except for the Discovery phase.

The Texas Ten Step program encourages all designated facilities to continue toward the pathway of excellence toward Baby Friendly designation.

Additional resources to assist your facility through the Baby Friendly process:

For a listing of Texas facilities that have achieved this Gold-Standard designation, please click here