Being Baby Friendly means that all mothers have access to the right information and support in hospital and the wider community to confidently breastfeed. This includes providing clear, accurate and unbiased information to non-breastfeeding mothers so they can make an informed decision on how to feed their babies.
Mothers can expect the following standard of care from a Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFHI) hospital:
- During pregnancy, you will have a full discussion about caring for and feeding your baby, including the benefits of breastfeeding. This will provide you with all the facts you need to make an informed choice
- You will be given your baby to hold against your skin straight after he/she is born
- You will be offered help to start breastfeeding in the first half hour or so after your baby is born
- Your baby will be kept with you at all times
If you decide to breastfeed:
- You will be shown how to hold your baby and how to make him/her latch on to ensure he/she gets enough milk and that feeding is not painful
- You will be given advice about how to breastfeed and how to make enough milk for your baby
- You will be shown how to express your milk by hand if you wish to do so
- Your baby will not be given water or formula milk unless there is a medical reason
- You will receive information about available support for breastfeeding in your local community once you leave hospital
If you decide to bottle-feed your baby, staff will support your decision and will:
- Ask if you want to be taught to make up a bottle safely
- Answer any questions you may have
Baby-friendly primary health services and community services can provide a similar standard of care:
- They will check that you are happy with your baby's feeding
- They will show you how to hold your baby for feeding and how to express your milk
- You will receive information about breastfeeding if you are separated from your baby (e.g. returning to work), caring for your baby at night and the right time to introduce your baby to other food and drink.
- You can breastfeed in all public areas, or ask for privacy if you prefer.
All staff in Baby-Friendly facilities are trained to provide clear, accurate and unbiased information, and support, to ensure mothers can make an informed decision on how to feed their babies.