Breastfeeding and Baby-Friendly Initiative
Did you know?
- The World Health Organization launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative to guide hospitals in evidence-based practices that will support women to breastfeed successfully. Although this program has been available for decades, less than 10% of hospitals in Canada are designated Baby-Friendly. It is time to scale up implementation of BFI in Canada.
- Canadian BFI hospitals have been successful and are seeing the benefit of at least 75% of babies being exclusively breastfed at discharge from hospital. As of February 2020, 21 hospitals and 113 Community Health Services have been successfully designated and some have been re-designated as Baby-Friendly. BFI designation is attainable. https://breastfeedingcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2020_February_Designated_Facilities_in_Canada.pdf
- The Breastfeeding Committee for Canada is the National Authority for designating BFI in Canada (outside of Quebec). https://breastfeedingcanada.ca/en/
Importance of BFI for Indigenous Health:
- Breastfeeding is grounded in Indigenous cultures. Support to breastfeed is an opportunity to support cultural revitalization. Support to breastfeed is also aligned with the TRC call to action #19, to close gaps in health outcomes and increase availability of services for infant, child and maternal health.
- Culturally safe care is: “an outcome based on respectful engagement that recognizes and strives to address power imbalances inherent in the healthcare system. It results in an environment free of racism and discrimination, where people feel safe when receiving health care” (First Nations Health Authority, BC). The only person who can determine if services are culturally safe is the person receiving them. The provider and the system cannot claim to be culturally safe.
- The Canadian Non-insured health benefits program provides benefits to First Nations and Inuit clients including access to breast pumps. https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1572545056418/1572545109296
Fast Facts about BFI:
- The Baby-Friendly Initiative is for all families, regardless of how they feed their child. Families have the right to make an informed decision on how to feed their child and be supported in their decision.
- Read the Public Health Agency of Canada’s 10 Great Reasons to Breastfeed your Baby. They are: perfect nutrition, protection, brain power, ready and portable, size does not matter, good for mothers too, builds a special bond, advantages continues as the baby grows, good for the planet, easy on the budget. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/childhood-adolescence/stages-childhood/infancy-birth-two-years/breastfeeding-infant-nutrition/10-great-reasons-breastfeed-your-baby.html
- Achieving some of the BFI 10 Steps improves health outcomes. There is dose response, meaning the more steps you implement the greater the impact but just by starting to implement the BFI 10 steps you are making a difference!
RCP maintains a list of Nova Scotia, Canadian and International Breastfeeding Resources.