The Baby-Friendly Initiative

newborn baby sleeping

What is the Baby-Friendly Initiative?

You may have heard the term, Baby-Friendly. The Baby-Friendly Initiative is an international program designed to support all mothers and babies by:

  • Supporting families to make an informed decision about feeding their baby.
  • Protecting families from the marketing pressures of formula companies.
  • Promoting practices that give mothers and babies a healthy start.

There are hospitals, health units, and community health centres that have received this designation or are working towards it. Southwestern Public Health is working towards Baby-Friendly designation to ensure that all families get the best support possible with infant feeding.  We are dedicated to meet best-practice standards that will help you to:

  • Make an informed decision on how to feed your baby.
  • Be prepared with accurate information about infant feeding.
  • Feel supported as you learn to feed and take care of your baby.

For more information about the Baby-Friendly Initiative, please visit the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada website.

Adapted with permission from the Best Start Resource Centre

Our Baby-Friendly Policy for Parents

Southwestern Public Health has a Baby-Friendly Organization Policy that makes sure that all families get the support that they need with infant feeding. 

As an organization that is striving to be Baby-Friendly:

  • We support all families in their infant feeding decisions.
  • We encourage questions and discussion to help parents make informed decisions about feeding their baby.
  • We have a policy that protects, promotes, and supports breastfeeding. 
    We train our staff to follow this policy.
  • We talk to pregnant women and their families about the importance of breastfeeding.
  • We encourage mothers and families to hold and feed their baby skin-to-skin as much as possible.
  • We talk to families about how to respond to their baby’s feeding cues.
  • We support mothers and families:
    • To feed their baby breast milk only for the first six months of life.
    • To start their baby on healthy solid foods at 6 months of age.
    • To continue to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond.
  • We welcome mothers to breastfeed anytime, anywhere at any of our locations in St. Thomas and Elgin County.
  • We do not advertise or give out infant formula, bottles, nipples or pacifiers.
  • We work with our community to support breastfeeding in Oxford County, Elgin County and St. Thomas.

For more information about our Baby-Friendly Organization Policy, please contact reception at Southwestern Public Health or call 1-800-922-0096.

Our Baby-Friendly Organization Policy can be translated upon request.


  1. Best Start Resource Centre. (2016). Breastfeeding matters: An important guide to breastfeeding for women and their families. Retrieved from
  2. Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. (2012). BFI integrated 10 steps practice outcome indicators for hospitals and community health services. Retrieved from