Evidence Based Breast-Feeding Promotion: The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative1

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Abstract

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is the translational tool developed by WHO and UNICEF to promote breastfeeding (BF) in maternity wards worldwide. BFHI was officially launched in the 1980s based on a “common sense” approach. Since then, research conducted in Latin America has shown that BFHI is highly cost-effective. BF trends over the past 2 decades strongly suggest that BFHI has had a global impact on BF outcomes. The 10th step of BFHI related to communitybased BF promotion is one of the most challenging ones to address. Randomized controlled trials conducted in the Americas, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa indicate that peer counseling is a very efficacious tool for increasing EBF rates. Low-cost rapidresponse monitoring systems are needed to monitor the proper implementation and administration of BFHI steps following an evidence-based approach. This approach is essential for reenergizing the BFHI worldwide. J. Nutr. 137: 484-487, 2007.

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