The Baby Friendly Initiative is a journey that is not always an easy one. Along the path there will be ups and downs, as well as periods of frustration and excitement. To make the journey a little easier it is helpful to know that there is research about the barriers and recommendations related to implementing the Baby Friendly Initiative.
This research indicates that there are certain Baby-Friendly Initiative Steps that are easier to implement and others that are more difficult. Knowing this can help facilitators organise their plan of action for implementing the 10 Steps. Generally Step 3 (inform pregnant women about breastfeeding), Step 5 (show mothers how to breastfeed), and Step 8 (encourage breastfeeding on demand) have higher health facility compliance. Typically lower compliance is found with Step 1 (breastfeeding policy), Step 6 (give nothing but breastmilk), and Step 7 (rooming-in).
In 2012, Semenic et al., published in the Journal of Human Lactation "Barriers, Facilitators, and Recommendations Related to Implementing the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI): An Integrative Review. This review identified a wide variety of obstacles and potential solutions to BFI implementation.
Findings suggest some priority issues to address when pursuing Baby Friendly designation, including the endorsements of both local administrators and governmental policy makers, effective leadership of the practice change process, health care worker training, the marketing influence of formula companies, and integrating hospital and community health services.
Framing the BFI as a complex, multilevel, evidence-based change process and using context-focused research implementation models to guide BFI implementation efforts may help identify effective strategies for promoting wider adoption of the BFI in health services. The review also found that availability for all maternity care staff including managers and doctors of mandatory and flexible breastfeeding education was identified in numerous articles as an essential element to improve staff attitude, knowledge and breastfeeding practices, helping pave the way for adoption of the other 10 Steps.(Semenic 2012)
Be proud you are providing your staff with flexible breastfeeding education and know it does make a difference.
Until next month,
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Last Updated: September 2018