Skip to main content

About Baby Friendly Aotearoa

NZBA works to promote, protect and support breastfeeding in New Zealand through managing the following Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) programmes:

  • the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI)
  • the Baby-Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI)

The NZBA is funded by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

All hospitals and health care facilities - particularly maternity wards - are encouraged to become baby-friendly. The NZBA is responsible for the implementation of the BFHI and BFCI nationally, and for awarding certificates of accreditation to approved health facilities and community service providers.  All New Zealand maternity facilities have been required to obtain Baby Friendly Hospital accreditation as assessed by NZBA; maintain accrediation and have an agreed timeline for assessment by NZBA (Maternity Services - DHB Funded Tier Two Service Specifications, 2011).

WHO and UNICEF launched the BFHI to help motivate facilities providing maternity and newborn services worldwide to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.  The Ten Steps summarise a package of policies and procedures that facilitie providing maternity and newborn services should implement to support breastfeeding.  WHO has called upon all facilities providing maternity and newborn services worldwide to implement the Ten Steps.

Baby friendly facilities work to see that all women, regardless of their feeding method, receive unbiased information, support and professional advice in their decision to feed their babies.

The implementation guidance for BFHI emphasises strategies to scale up to universal coverage and ensure sustainability over time.  The guidance focuses on integrating the programme more fully into the healthcare system, to ensure that all facilities in a country implement the Ten Steps.  Countries are called upon to fulfill nine key responsibilities through a national BFHI programme.

There is substantial evidence that implementing the Ten Steps significantly improves breastfeeding rates.  A systematic review of 58 studies on maternity and newborn care published in 2016 demonstrated clearly that adherence to the Ten Steps impacts early initiation of breastfeeding immediately after birth, exclusive breastfeeding and total duration of breastfeeding.

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (Revised 2018)

WHO and UNICEF issued new Ten Step guidelines in 2018.  A revised Baby Friendly Aotearoa Programme that will align with this guidance is under development and will be in place for 2020.  Details of progress can be found in the monthly NZBA newsletter.  Register here.