Of the nearly 4 million babies born each year in the US, 14% are born in Baby-Friendly hospitals. This number has nearly tripled in recent years but remains low. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was established by the World Health Organization and UNICEF and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are at the core of the BFHI.
To improve their support for breastfeeding, hospitals can:
- Use the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and work towards achieving the Baby-Friendly designation.
- Use CDC’s Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) survey customized reports to improve maternity care practices that support breastfeeding.
- Work with doctors, nurses, lactation care providers, and organizations to create networks that provide clinic-based, at-home, or community breastfeeding support for mothers.
Breastfed babies have reduced risks of ear, respiratory, stomach, and intestinal infections; asthma, obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to get breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Breastfeeding also saves money. More than $2 billion in yearly medical costs for children could be saved if breastfeeding recommendations were met.
CDC Media Relations