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BFHI - Does it Work?

January 2015

Now that the New Year is here, it is a good time to look forward and ponder what this year may bring. Do you sometimes wonder if all the hard work and changes your facilities are implementing for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) accreditation are actually working? Are mothers and babies getting better care? Is this care cost effective, and worth the effort?

Wonderfully the answer is YES!

Step 1 of the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding is “Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.” This first step helps to remind everyone about all the 10 steps. And because the policy is publicly displayed for all to read, it also lets families know that the staff are committed to implementing the 10 Steps.

In a 2014 Journal of Human Lactation article entitled, “Associations of Hospital Staff Training and Policies with Early Breastfeeding Practices” the authors’ objective was to assess whether staff training and structural-organizational aspects of care (such as policies) had an impact on infant breastfeeding behavior 24 to 48 hours postpartum.

The results of the study revealed that the odds of breastfeeding were greater in hospitals with a higher-than-state-mean Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) score in the following areas: breastfeeding education for new employees, breastfeeding education of nurses in the past year, access to prenatal breastfeeding classes, a lactation coordinator, and having a written breastfeeding policy. Hospitals with written breastfeeding policies that included the recommended elements were associated positively with newborn breastfeeding rates.

We have spoken to many colleagues over the years and Carole has worked with hospitals in Canada during their BFHI journey. They have shared their highs and lows, as well as the bumps along the road, yet all agree it is definitely worth it.

The image so often described by colleagues and visitors to a BFHI institution is of silence! The quietness of entering a maternity unit where babies are not heard crying because they are with their mothers and are comforted immediately. The mothers and families are supported by knowledgeable, confident, staff who are proud of their work because they know they are practicing evidence-based healthcare.

You can be proud that you are on the BFHI path that will help you to continue to provide best practice, evidence-based care to families. Best of all, the decision to embark upon this journey is supported by research. Congratulations!

Abstracthttp://jhl.sagepub.com/content/30/1/88.short

Welcome to 2015, until next month,

Carole and Lenore
 
Carole Dobrich, RN, IBCLC, ANLC & Lenore Goldfarb, PhD, CCC, IBCLC, ALC
Directors Step2 Education
 
 
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Last Updated: September 2018