WHAT is the Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community (BFFC) Designation?
The BREASTFEEDING FAMILY FRIENDLY COMMUNITY (BFFC) DESIGNATION is a program designed to complement the Global Revised, Updated and Expanded Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative. The designation is granted by the BFFC Designating Group, based on recommendations and support from the BFFC Team. [For example: The BFFC team for the pilot included the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI), local La Leche League (LLL), Chapel Hill Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Office of the Mayor in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, Orange County Health Department, Interfaith Council, and faith-based groups.] The Designating Group may be part of the Team. If any possible conflict of interest is identified, it will be addressed by the Team.
WHY have a designation for breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding, 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). We recognize that breast/chestfeeding is “The Great Equalizer” because it impacts health equity outcomes at all ages and stages of life. A breastfeeding family friendly community is a healthier, more welcoming community for young families of all races and ethnicities.
WHO can become designated?
The Ten Steps (to a Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community) are the foundation of the designation. Any municipality or incorporated region may become designated by completing the Ten Steps self-appraisal. Work begins when two or more community members come together to create a Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community Designation Team that will lead the community in satisfying the requirements of the Ten Steps. We recommend setting up a meeting with the BFFC team for assistance and so that the community can be added to the website.
WHY should a community become designated?
This award provides recognition of the quality of care for breast/chestfeeding families that are afforded in that community. Since the majority of parents in the US and worldwide are deciding to breast/chestfeed, this sends the message that the community respects their desires and appreciates its importance to the health of the child, the family, and the community.
WHEN might a community start the process?
The designation may be sought at any time. [Hint: We recommend approaching governments during World Breastfeeding Week or National Breastfeeding Month, when governments are more receptive to a breastfeeding initiative.] While ongoing verification by the community team is suggested, recertification by the Designating Group will be carried out every 3 years with the opportunity for growth and improvement.
HOW do we measure if we have achieved these Ten Steps?
To be designated a “Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community,” the community (e.g., city town, state, SMSA) must be able to honestly respond in the positive to all the measures under each of the Ten Steps and allow each to be verified by the local Designating Group and reviewed by the BFFC team.
The local Designating Group will assess the following measures using suggested approaches annually for 3 years, then every 3 years thereafter. When all steps have been achieved, the Designating Group will notify national and international breastfeeding organizations (e.g., your local, national, and international breastfeeding coalitions) and the BFFC team.
1Definition of optimal breastfeeding: Early and exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months and continued breastfeeding, with appropriately-timed introduction of complementary foods, for at least 1-2 years and for as long as the mother and child desire.