Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

The California Breastfeeding Coalition is committed to helping all 251 birthing hospitals and birth centers in California to achieve Baby-Friendly designation by 2025. Currently, California leads the nation with 95 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals (scroll down to see the list). A key objective in Healthy People 2020 is to increase the proportion of live births that occur in facilities that provide recommended care for lactating mother and their babies. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is an internationally model of this recommended care.

What is Baby-Friendly?

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and implemented in the United States by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. (BFUSA). The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative recognizes and awards birthing facilities which successfully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. The BFHI assists hospitals in giving all mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.

Why do we promote Baby-Friendly?

Hospitals play a critical role in a mother’s success in breastfeeding initiation and in helping mothers continue to breastfeed after leaving their facilities. The BFHI focus is to make sure evidence-based maternity policies and practices are in place to support mothers who breastfeed their babies. Data shows that when the BFHI is implemented, exclusive breastfeeding rates increase overall, regardless of a mother’s race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

The BFHI is a key strategy to meet the Healthy People 2020 Objectives for Maternal, Infant, and Child Health related to breastfeeding, including those in the following chart.

In addition, the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding (2011) includes a call to improve maternity care practices. The Specifications Manual for Joint Commission National Quality Core Measures also includes an “Exclusive Breast Milk Feeding” Performance Measure.

California leads the nation with 95 hospitals and birth centers achieving the prestigious Baby-Friendly Hospital designation. We are proud to recognize these outstanding health care facilities for their commitment to world class maternity care.


View California Baby-Friendly Birth Facilities in a larger map

California’s Baby-Friendly Hospitals:

Print Friendly