Community Health Services

Baby Friendly accreditation is a quality assurance measure that demonstrates the commitment of a Community Health Service (CHS) to offer the highest standard of care to mothers and infants. Attaining accreditation signifies that the service is committed to evidence-based, best-practice care and ensuring that every mother is supported with her informed choice of infant feeding.

In a Baby Friendly CHS, a mother’s informed choice of infant feeding is encouraged, respected, and supported. At no time are mothers ‘forced’ to breastfeed. The Seven Point Plan is adapted from the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding specifically to compliment Community Health Services. It is beneficial for all mothers and babies, promoting parental responsiveness, empowerment, and informed choice – regardless of feeding method.

In a Baby Friendly service, clients are given consistent, accurate information and support. In many cases this results in the duration of breastfeeding being extended.

Mothers who choose to artificially feed their babies, or who are required to supplement with or switch to infant formula, are given individual support and information to help them correctly prepare feeds and to ensure that they know how to feed their babies safely.

The Seven Points work synergistically and so therefore are implemented in unison, to ensure benefits for mothers and infants.

BFHI Community Health Service Handbook

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BFHI CHS Self Appraisal Tool

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  • Point 1a: Have a written infant and young child feeding policy that is routinely communicated to all staff and parents.
  • Point 1b: Comply Fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and Relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions
  • Point 1c: Establish Ongoing Monitoring and Data-Management Systems
  • Point 2: Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence, and skills to implement the infant and young child feeding policy
  • Point 3: Inform women and their families about breastfeeding being the biologically normal way to feed a baby.

  • Point 4: Provide timely support to mothers while they are establishing breastfeeding and during challenges maintaining breastfeeding.

  • Point 5: Support mothers to exclusively breastfeeding up to six months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate introduction of complementary foods.

  • Point 6: Provide a supportive environment and information for all families, regardless of feeding choice.

  • Point 7: Work collaboratively with maternity facilities, breastfeeding support groups and the local community in order to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

While each of the Seven Points contributes to improving the support for infant and young child feeding, optimal impact on feeding practices, and thereby on maternal and child well-being, is only achieved when all Seven Points are implemented as a package.

Once all standards for the Seven Points are fully met, accreditation is awarded.

Re-assessment will take place every 3 years to ensure that all the standards from each of the 7 Points are being maintained and to explore how the service is building on the good work it has already done.

Preparations for re-accreditation are the same process as for initial accreditation. Ensuring that a three-year action plan for BFHI requirements is developed and implemented on a rolling schedule will mean less stress and work in the lead up to re-accreditation.

Re-assessment will consist of interviews with mothers, staff and managers to establish how the standards are being maintained. Internal audit results and outcomes such as breastfeeding initiation, continuation, exclusive breastfeeding and supplementation rates (where applicable) will be reviewed.

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If you would like to find out more information about the BFHI process and becoming accredited, please fill in the form below: