Become A Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community!

Baby-friendly communities: Creating Step Ten

The Ten Steps to successful breastfeeding recently were revised by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO): Coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care (UNICEF/WHO, Revised BFHI 2018).  

Ongoing breastfeeding support and care is a focus of the Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities.  Step 10, of all of the Ten Steps, has not achieved full implementation in a wide variety of settings, although many options are suggested, including…regular outreach by the maternity staff especially in the first days postpartum, referral to community-based primary health care centres with specialized training, hotlines. Facility-based personnel may simply not have the skills for community mobilization. In addition, often there is reliance on volunteers, so it is necessary to have regular refreshers and support activities for ongoing motivation and communication. Perhaps of most relevance to reaching the most vulnerable populations is the reality that most deliveries in developing countries occur in the communities and even the initial baby-friendly care may not be in place (Excerpt from Section 1.5: Baby-Friendly Expansion and Integration Possibilities UNICEF/WHO BFHI Section 1: Background and Implementation 2009 pp 53-54).

WHAT is the Breastfeeding-Friendly City/Community Designation (BFFCD)? 

The BREASTFEEDING-FAMILY FRIENDLY CITY/COMMUNITY DESIGNATION (BFFCD) is a program designed to complement the Global Revised, Updated and Expanded Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative.  [Note: the BFFCD team for this pilot includes the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI), local La Leche League (LLL), Chapel Hill Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Office of the Mayors of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, Orange County Department of Health, Interfaith Council, local school districts, NCBC and faith-based groups. The School Boards will also be invited to participate.]

WHY have a designation for breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding, that is feeding the infant at the breast, especially exclusive breastfeeding, is associated with lower rates of obesity, diabetes, infectious diseases, and other child illnesses, as well as less maternal breast and ovarian cancers, diabetes and a faster recovery from childbirth as compared to formula feeding. Breastfeeding is also associated with overall a better chance for lifelong health and development, as well as better school performance and other achievements. In addition, exclusive breastfeeding has been referred to as “The Great Equalizer”, because (it) “goes a long way toward canceling out the health difference between being born into poverty or being born into affluence” (JP Grant, when UNICEF Executive Director). A breastfeeding-friendly community is a healthier, more welcoming community for young families of all races and ethnicities.

Learn More about bringing the Breastfeeding Family Friendly Initiatives to your community – locally or globally

Contact Kathleen Anderson (klanderson@unc.edu; 919-624-0230)