What is Baby Friendly?

Mothers can expect the following standard of care from a Baby Friendly Initiative (BHI) hospital:

  • During pregnancy you will have a full discussion about caring for and feeding your baby, including the benefits of breastfeeding. This will provide you with all the facts you need to make an informed choice
  • You will be given your baby to hold against your skin straight after they are born
  • A midwife will offer to help you to start breastfeeding in the first half hour or so after your baby is born
  • Your baby will be kept with you at all times

If you decide to breastfeed:

  • A midwife will show you how to hold your baby and how to make them latch on to ensure they get enough milk and that feeding is not painful
  • You will be given advice about how to breastfeed and how to make enough milk for your baby
  • A midwife will offer to show you how to express your milk by hand
  • Your baby will not be given water or formula milk unless there is a medical reason
  • You will receive information about available support for breastfeeding in your local community once you leave hospital

If you decide to bottle-feed your baby, staff will support your decision and will:

  • Ask if you want to be taught to make up a bottle properly
  • Answer any questions you may have

Baby friendly health centres and surgeries provide a similar standard of care:

  • Midwives and health visitors will check that you are happy with your baby's feeding
  • They will show you how to hold your baby for feeding and how to express your milk
  • You will receive information about breastfeeding if you are separated from your baby (e.g. returning to work), caring for your baby at night and the right time to introduce your baby to other food and drink.
  • You can breastfeed in all public areas, or ask for privacy if you prefer.

All staff in Baby Friendly facilities are trained to provide clear, accurate and unbiased information, and support, to ensure mothers can make an informed decision on how to feed their babies.