Baby-Friendly® – What it Means

We are proud to be an internationally recognized Baby-Friendly® facility. This designation, which is only given by Baby-Friendly USA after it is verified we meet rigorous standards, means our center offers the optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and babies.

We have also enhanced the birthing experience by adding midwifery, extensive education and counseling that means our mothers and babies are more likely to enjoy better health and a better overall experience.

Ryan, Loretta 0813

“We will have healthier babies and healthier moms.” — Loretta Ryan, M.D., Pediatric Section Chief, on Baby-Friendly® designation.


Baby-Friendly USA is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this international designation recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. “

There are less than 375 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States.  The Baby-Friendly® designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The designation is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.

The core of a Baby-Friendly® initiative is the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” a bundle of science-based practices established by the WHO and UNICEF as global criteria to improve breastfeeding rates. The criteria are also endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The designation also indicates that besides breastfeeding, the facility supports and promotes the importance of mother and infant bonding. At Reid Health, it means making sure mothers have immediate skin-to-skin contact with their newborn, which is believed to help activate the baby’s immune system. It also means babies remain with their mother most of the time during their stay, rather than being whisked away to a nursery.

Brandenstein, Erika

“We know this initiative means our mothers and families are getting the optimum care and encouragement that has been proven to reduce risks to the baby and mom.”  — Erika Brandenstein, M.D., Reid OB/GYN.



Some highlights of our program include:

  • We are creating a home experience in the hospital so parents get to know babies and babies get to know their families.
  • All care happens in the room.
  • Almost 80 percent of moms are going home successfully breastfeeding.
  • We have five certified lactation counselors in the Family Birthing Center, one in the Reid OB/GYN office and two with the Reid Pediatric and Internal Medicine practice.
  • Every unit employee receives 20 hours of training about breastfeeding.
  • We encourage skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, which aids in transition from life in the womb to life outside and improves baby’s heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature and blood sugar.
  • We maintain on staff an internationally board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).
  • Free childbirth, breastfeeding and sibling classes for expectant parents
  • A quiet time every day with visitor limitations to allow special family bonding in the rooms.

The Baby-Friendly® designation began in 1991 in response to rising infant mortality rates around the world, and is sponsored by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund. To become Baby Friendly, a hospital must demonstrate its commitment to a whole philosophy of care that helps women understand the benefits of breastfeeding and be successful at it.

Baby-Friendly Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice “rooming in” – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.