The Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) is a global, evidence-based campaign that promotes, protects and supports breastfeeding in order to increase the health and well-being of all children and families. BFI recognizes that breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for mothers and infants, and that families need to be supported to make informed feeding decisions without the influence of formula marketing.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit achieved the Baby-Friendly designation in October 2016.
What is Baby-Friendly designation?
In Canada, Baby-Friendly designation is awarded by the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (BCC) for hospitals and community-based health organizations that meet the requirements laid out by the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada’s BFI Integrated 10 Steps Practice Indicators and the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions.
All health units in Ontario have been mandated to implement the Baby-Friendly Initiative. Other health organizations such as hospitals, community health centres and family health teams are also being encouraged to adopt these best practices for prenatal and postpartum care.
What is the EOHU doing to support BFI?
The EOHU has developed a policy to support, promote and protect breastfeeding, and is committed to:
- Support informed decision-making about infant feeding
- Support parents to breastfeed their infants exclusively for the first 6 months of life, and to continue breastfeeding along with the introduction of solid (complementary) foods, for up to two years and beyond
- Educate parents about the risk of using pacifiers, teats or synthetic nipples in the early weeks when establishing breastfeeding.
- Welcome parents to breastfeed anytime, anywhere
- Ensure that all staff have the knowledge and skills necessary to implement our breastfeeding policy
- Work with our community partners to provide consistent and seamless care that supports breastfeeding
- Support community agencies and workplaces to develop their own breastfeeding policy
In addition, we offer a wide variety of breastfeeding supports for families, including:
- Prenatal breastfeeding classes
- Online and print information and resources for breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding consultations and support at our Watch Me Grow centres
- One-on-one support in a variety of programs and services for parents
- Telephone support through Health Line
- Breastfeeding Committee for Canada
- Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Birth to Six Months - A joint statement of Health Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Breastfeeding Committee for Canada
- World Health Organization: Promoting proper feeding for infants and young children