The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 1991. Its mission is “to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.” This initiative acknowledges that breastfeeding is a biological norm and that breast milk is the best food available for human infants.
Birthing facilities who successfully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, created by WHO and UNICEF, can apply for international “Baby-Friendly” Recognition through Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. (BFUSA). These guidelines help hospitals “give all mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely.”
COBA is proud of the ten Oklahoma hospitals that have been designated Baby-Friendly by Baby-Friendly USA:
- Hillcrest Medical Center – Tulsa, OK
- Claremore Indian Hospital – Claremore, OK
- INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center – Oklahoma City, OK
- Cherokee Nation W. W. Hastings Hospital – Tahlequah, OK
- Comanche County Memorial Hospital – Lawton, OK
- Integris Health Edmond – Edmond, OK
- St. Anthony Hospital – Oklahoma City, OK
- Chickasaw Nation Medical Center- Ada, OK
- Integris Canadian Valley Hospital – Yukon, OK
- Children’s Hospital at OU – Oklahoma City, OK
COBA’s Model Hospital Policy for Breastfeeding and OBRC Partnership
COBA has been instrumental in promoting breastfeeding in Oklahoma hospitals. Our Model Hospital Policy has been a tool since 2009 for Oklahoma hospitals to evaluate their practices and set their goals in working toward achieving Baby-Friendly status. The 2022 Edition of the COBA Model Hospital Infant Feeding Policy has been carefully updated to align with World Health Organization’s Implementation Guidance: protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in facilities providing maternity and newborn services – the revised Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, the Baby-Friendly USA, Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria for Facilities Seeking Baby-Friendly Designation, Sixth Edition, and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Clinical Protocol #7: Model Maternity Policy Supportive of Breastfeeding. Download it now, and contact COBA to add your professional or health care organization to the endorsements!
COBA has promoted and participated in the Becoming Baby-Friendly in Oklahoma program of the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center, which has held annual summits for hospital staff since 2013. For more information and resources related to Baby-Friendly Hospital designation in Oklahoma, please visit the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oklahoma’s “Ban the Bags” Campaign
By April 2020, 28 hospitals in Oklahoma had stopped distributing commercial baby formula discharge bags. Over half the babies in Oklahoma are born in these hospitals! Data show that when hospitals “BAN THE BAGS“, breastfeeding rates go up because “free” samples of formula are not substituted for timely troubleshooting of breastfeeding challenges. COBA is working to get all Oklahoma Hospitals and Birth Centers bag free!