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
Elgin St. Thomas 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.
- Best Start Resource Centre. (2016). Breastfeeding matters: An important guide to breastfeeding for women and their families. Retrieved from http://www.beststart.org/resources/breastfeeding/breastfeeding_matters_EN_LR.pdf
- Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. (2012). BFI integrated 10 steps practice outcome indicators for hospitals and community health services. Retrieved from http://breastfeedingcanada.ca/documents/2012-05-14_BCC_BFI_Ten_Steps_Integrated_Indicators.pdf