The IWK Health Centre has received Baby-Friendly Initiative designation, making it the first health centre in the Maritimes to achieve that status. Baby friendly hospitals have demonstrated that they have policies and care practices that meet the gold standard for mother/ baby care practices related to breastfeeding.
“We know that breastfeeding gives babies the healthiest possible start, providing health benefits that extend well into adulthood, and offers many benefits for mothers and families,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Having the IWK achieve BFI designation is an important accomplishment and sets a standard for all health care facilities in Nova Scotia.”
“We know that breastfeeding gives babies the healthiest possible start, providing health benefits that extend well into adulthood, and offers many benefits for mothers and families,”
The Baby-Friendly Initiative is a global quality improvement program of UNICEF and the World Health Organization based on 10 Steps which sets out the standards for health services to improve the care environment and practices so that parents are enabled and supported to meet their infant feeding goals. BFI is for all families so they are supported to make informed decisions and benefit from evidence based care such as skin-to-skin contact immediately at birth and during painful procedures, keeping moms and babies together and supplementing feedings when it is medically appropriate to do so.
“While this is a huge achievement for the IWK, BFI designation is a step on the journey to advocating and supporting breastfeeding as an important facet for child health,” says Dr. Krista Jangaard, Interim President and CEO of the IWK. “This designation is a testament to the importance the IWK places on helping families make informed infant feeding choices.”
Over the past decades, evidence for the health advantages of breastfeeding and recommendations for practice have continued to increase. The World Health Organization can now say with full confidence that breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood. Only 21 hospitals across Canada (approximately ten per cent) have BFI designation.