The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative

Whether your baby is born in hospital or at home, your LMC (Lead Maternity Caregiver) will encourage you to breastfeed your baby, and will help you to get off to a good start if you decide to breastfeed.

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) set up jointly by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 1992, has produced as summary of guidelines of care for breastfeeding women.  You can expect the care outlined in these guidelines from your health professional, and should you like a copy of these guidelines, they are available through your LMC or maternity hospital.  The guidelines are aimed at providing support to breastfeeding support you can expect while in a maternity unit.

A Baby Friendly Hospital (BFH) is a health care facility (maternity/birthing unit), where the practitioners who provide care for women and babies adopt practices that aim to protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding from birth.  In many of these maternity/birthing units, lactation consultants (who are usually midwives with breastfeeding specialist qualification and experience) can be called on to assist mothers who experience difficulties with breastfeeding.  At the same time, Baby Friendly facilities ensure that women who choose not to breastfeed are supported in their decision and provided with unbiased information and advice.

Midwives continue to play a leading role in promoting breastfeeding in both birthing units and at home.  Once your Plunket Nurse or other Well Child Health Provider/Tamariki Ora takes over responsibility for you and your baby, you will find them equally committed to ensuring that you can continue to breastfeed successfully.