By: 9 September 2016
Is the baby-friendly hospital initiative improving infant health and breastfeeding outcomes?

The 10-step Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), aimed at promoting breastfeeding initiation and exclusivity to improve early infant health in the US is having a positive impact on some measures, but others have proven more challenging to influence or assess.

A comprehensive analysis of studies evaluating the effectiveness of the BFHI and directions for future research are presented in an article published in Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Breastfeeding Medicine website until September 15, 2016.

Coauthors Allison Munn and others, of the College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston), report that, in general, the evidence supports a positive impact of the BFHI on breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity, and duration. In the article “The Impact in the United States of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative on Early Infant Health and Breastfeeding Outcomes” the researchers identify the BFHI steps that are the most difficult to implement. The authors also emphasise the need for additional studies in several areas: to examine the impact of the initiative on women living in rural areas and the southeastern US; to understand how Baby-Friendly practices contribute to breastfeeding decisions by assessing mothers’ experiences and perceptions of them; and to study the impact of the BFHI on late premature infants.
“This is a sophisticated, real-world analysis,” says Arthur I. Eidelman, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine.

Article source:

Source: Alpha Galileo