Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI)
What is the Baby-Friendly Initiative? The Baby-Friendly Initiative acknowledges that breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for infants and breastfeeding persons, and families need to be supported to make informed feeding decisions without the influence of formula marketing.
The Baby-Friendly Initiative:
- Is a global, evidence-based approach that increases the health and well-being of all children and families
- Protects, promotes, and supports breastfeeding
- Is for hospitals and community-based health organizations
- Has 10 steps that organizations need to follow to become designated as "Baby-Friendly"
- Requires compliance with the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions.
Healthcare organizations (eg. pulbic health, hospitals, community health centres, family health teams) in the province are being encouraged and supported to adopt these best practices for prenatal and postpartum care. Middlesex-London Health Unit was formally designated as Baby-Friendly in December 2015.
Where can I get more information?
- Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (BCC)
The national authority for the Baby-Friendly Initiative is the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (BCC). This website has a number of documents related to BFI, the Code, the designation process, and much more.
- Health Canada
Information about nutrition for healthy term infants can be found from Health Canada.
- World Health Organization
Recommendations for promoting proper feeding for infants and young children can be found from the World Health Organization
We offer many types of breastfeeding supports for you and your baby.
Learn more →
- Telephone support
- Breastfeeding Home Visits
- Healthy Start Infant Drop-ins
- Breastfeeding videos
In Canada, Baby-Friendly designation is awarded by the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (BCC) when a healthcare organization meets the following 10 steps:
- Have a written infant feeding policy
- Ensure all staff have the knowledge and skills necessary to implement the infant feeding policy
- Inform pregnant persons and their families about the importance and process of breastfeeding
- Place baby skin-to-skin with their mothers immediately after birth for at least an hour or until after the first feeding or as long as the mother wishes
- Assist persons to breastfeed even if they are separated from their baby
- Support exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, unless alternatives are medically indicated.
- Help parents and infants stay together and facilitate 24-hr rooming-in
- Encourage responsive, cue-based feeding and sustained breastfeeding beyond six months
- Support persons to feed and care for their breastfeeding babies without using artificial nipples or pacifiers
- Provide a seamless transition between the hospital, community health services, and peer support programs 1
Date of creation: December 3, 2012
Last modified on: July 30, 2019
Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. (2017). The BFI 10 Steps & WHO Code Outcome Indicators for Hospitals and Community Health Services