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The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), launched in 1991, is a global effort by WHO (World Health Organization) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) to support breastfeeding. In 2011, the first Baby-Friendly Health center was built in the UAE (Maternal ; Child Health Center of Sharjah).
It is based on a 10-step criteria, in which the maternity staff should train on, to advise breastfeeding mother and ensure a successful breastfeeding.

STEP 1. A written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
STEP 2. Train all health care staff the skills necessary to implement the policy by receiving an orientation.
STEP 3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding. Antenatal and postnatal discussions can also help in this step.
STEP 4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth by placing the baby in skin-to-skin contact with the mother for at least an hour.
STEP 5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation.
STEP 6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
STEP 7. Practice rooming-in – allow mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day. (leads to being able to respond to the baby’s feeding cues, lowers the crying hours of the baby, increases confidence to the mother for handling her baby, and gives the baby a better quality of sleep).
STEP 8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand (knowing when the baby is hungry).
STEP 9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
STEP 10. Mothers are given information on where they can get support if they need help with feeding their babies after returning home

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