Open Accessibility Menu

Marshall Achieves Baby Friendly Hospital Designation

Marshall was officially designated as a Baby Friendly Hospital by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Such designation is the globally recognized symbol of world-class maternity care and followed a rigorous survey of Marshall's related practices the preceding February.

What is the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative?

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the WHO and UNICEF to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers to offer the optimal level of newborn infant feeding—namely, exclusive breast feeding except for medically-indicated formula use. The BFHI assists hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding; it gives special recognition to hospitals that implement and follow these programs.

To qualify as a Baby Friendly Hospital, a hospital must demonstrate and practice the following 10 aspects of successful breastfeeding protocol:

  1. Maintain a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
  2. Train all healthcare staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers to initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their babies.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in—allow mothers and babies to stay together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage unrestricted breastfeeding.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them upon discharge.

Although Marshall has been practicing Baby Friendly protocol for several years, it has taken that long to get the formal programs in place to certify and prove that our procedures meet the criteria as set forth by the surveyors. Now that Marshall is a designated Baby Friendly Hospital, patients can be assured of the world-class level of maternity care they will enjoy at our hospital.