Sparrow aims to become designated as a Baby-Friendly hospital

Published: Dec. 17, 2014

Sparrow is working to become designated as a Baby-Friendly hospital.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Baby-Friendly USA recognizes and awards birthing facilities that successfully implement programs promoting successful breastfeeding.

Members of the Baby-Friendly USA team will be at Sparrow for a site visit soon.

All evidence points to breast milk being the best food for babies. Many organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, US Surgeon General, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Healthy People 2020 recommend hospitals achieve Baby-Friendly designation because the practices outlined in the “Baby-Friendly 10 Steps” are the best evidence available to improve maternity care and support breastfeeding.

Following the “Baby-Friendly 10 Steps” means we use practices supporting optimal health for mothers and babies who will benefit from these practices for years to come:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming-in to allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Members of the Baby-Friendly USA team will be at Sparrow for a site visit soon.