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Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative

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Updated April 21, 2009

Definition:

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative was introduced in 1991 by the World Health Organization/United Nations Children's Fund (WHO/UNICEF) to promote, protect and support breastfeeding in the hospital or birth setting. A key element in this promotion and support is outlined in their Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. To date, approximately 19,000 hospitals and birth centers in about 125 countries have received the "Baby Friendly" designation.

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is implemented by the United States nonprofit organization Baby Friendly USA. Currently, 61 U.S. hospitals and birth centers have the "Baby Friendly" designation and approximately 45 other facilities have a Certificate of Intent.

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