In a Baby Friendly accredited facility, breastfeeding is encouraged, supported and promoted. Breastfed babies are not given breastmilk substitutes (infant formula) unless medically indicated or it is the parents informed decision. Regardless of feeding choices and circumstances, every woman is supported to care for her baby in the best and safest way possible.
In a Baby Friendly facility, mothers are given consistent, accurate information and support. For mothers who are breastfeeding, in many cases this results in the duration of breastfeeding being extended. Mothers who make an informed decision 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.
Ultimately, Baby Friendly accredited facilities are established in helping you and your baby get the best care and support. If you choose an accredited facility you can expect:
- Factual and unbiased antenatal care and advice about caring for and feeding your baby, including the benefits of breastfeeding.
- Facilities will not advertise or distribute artificial feeding samples from manufacturers as this practice is proven to discourage families from breastfeeding.
- Skin to skin contact right after birth so that your baby can breastfeed as soon as they are ready.
- You will receive assistance breastfeeding in the first half hour or so after your baby is born.
- You will be shown how to hold your baby and how to get your baby to latch on to ensure they get enough milk and that feeding is not painful.
- You will be shown how to express your milk by hand if you wish to do so.
- Your baby will not be given water or artificial feed (if you choose to breastfeed) unless there is a medical reason.
- You will be asked (if choosing to artificially feed) if you want to be taught to make up a bottle safely.
- You will be advised about the benefits of keeping your baby with you at all times (rooming-in).
- You will receive information about available support for breastfeeding in your local community once you leave hospital.