Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI)

Did you know………..that South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre (SEOCHC) is working towards the Baby-friendly Initiative designation?  The Baby-friendly Initiative (BFI) was launched by the World Health organization (WHO) and UNICEF.

What is BFI?

The initiative is a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding. 

As a Baby-Friendly organization, we encourage breastfeeding anywhere and anytime. Let us know if you prefer to breastfeed in a quiet space and someone will direct you to the breastfeeding room.

Baby-Friendly means that the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of not breastfeeding are presented and discussed to help decision making

As a designated Baby-Friendly community health service, we are committed to supporting you and your baby. We work to make sure breastfeeding is welcome and supported everywhere – including at our centre, in your home, and in your community.

The Baby-Friendly Initiative provides the best possible care within health services for all mothers and babies, whether babies are breastfed or formula-fed.

More about Baby-Friendly:

Baby-Friendly is a world-wide initiative started by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. It includes the Integrated 10 Steps and World Health Organization Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes for hospitals and community health services to follow.

There are many things that influence a woman’s choice of what method of infant feeding to use. Some of these are:

  • the attitudes and beliefs of the people around her
  • personal experience
  • receiving complete or incomplete information about the choice available before making a decision

We offer you services that will help you breastfeed your baby.

  • Prenatal breastfeeding classes will provide you with information and the confidence to breastfeed.
  • A breastfeeding drop in offered twice a week to give you time and space with a lactation consultant to increase your confidence to breastfeed and help you with questions you may have around breastfeeding.
  • Early Years Nurses offer you a home visit if you need support.
  • All our health care providers, nurses, nutritionists, and family visitors have received BFI specific training to support you.
  • You can talk to any staff at SEOCHC and they will direct you to someone who will be able to answer your question around breastfeeding.
  • Written information to take home.
  • We will show you how to express your breastmilk by hand and/or use a breast pump.
  • Help to know when your baby is ready for other foods (usually after 6 months).
  • You will be offered phone numbers of people you can call for more help and support.
  • We will support your right to make an informed decision about how you feed your baby, and support the decision you make.
  • We work to make sure that breastfeeding is welcome everywhere in our community.
  • We provide you with information about how to safely prepare formula, if you decide to formula feed.

We encourage you to:

  • Keep your baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth until your baby feeds or as long as you want
  • Keep your baby near you so you can get to know each other.
  • Feed your baby when he or she is hungry.
  • Avoid using bottles or pacifiers while breastfeeding.
  • Feed your baby only breastmilk until he or she is 6 months old. (If you’re told your baby needs other food or drink before this, ask why).
  • Introduce solid foods at 6 months and continue to breastfeed for 2 years.

How this program helps…

Our goal is to help each family make an informed decision after receiving all of the facts about infant feeding methods. After receiving the appropriate information the mothers/families can confidently make a choice they are comfortable with.

Why Breastfeeding Matters!

Breast-milk is the best food for optimal growth. Health Canada promotes breastfeeding as the best method of feeding infants as it provides optimal nutritional, immunological and emotional benefits for the growth and development of infants. Exclusive breastfeeding (no food or liquid other than breast-milk or expressed breast-milk, vitamins, minerals and medicine) is recommended for the first six months of life for healthy term infants. Infants should be introduced to nutrient-rich, solid foods with particular attention to iron at six months with continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond.

We follow the recommendations set by the World Health Organization, Health Canada, Best Start and the Canadian Pediatric Society.

No matter what decision you make about infant feeding, we believe that all families should have the benefit of:

  • Getting enough information to make decisions about infant feeding
  • Skin-to-skin care starting right after birth – Click here for skin-to-skin video
  • Our Breast Feeding policy
  • Our pledge to families

South-East Ottawa’s breast feeding policy encourages members of the health care team to help families make well informed decisions about infant feeding. The policy guides us to help you be successful in breastfeeding your infant. The policy is summarized in the resource called “Our Pledge to Families.”

The Policy includes:

During pregnancy all families are given information about infant feeding options to be able to make an informed decision on how to feed your baby.

All infants are placed skin-to-skin after birth and breastfeeding usually starts within 30 minutes when mom and baby are medically stable.

Mothers deciding to breastfeed are supported by centre staff to help you feel confident in feeding your baby.

Mothers deciding to formula feed are given support and information on how to safely feed their baby.

Samples of breast milk substitutes (formula) are not given to families to take home.

Instead vouchers are provided to mothers who have had the discussion about informed decision making with a provider and will therefore be supported in her decision.

South East Ottawa Community Health Centre (SEOCHC) is an organization that continually develops and supports a culture that promotes breastfeeding. We have Early Years nurses and Family Visitors making home visits working with the community to support families in infant feeding.

SEOCHC does not advertise or display printed material sponsored by manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes. SEOCHC complies with the guidelines set forth in the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes. Canada, as a member of the World Health Assembly, signed and adopted the Code in 1981:

This Code directs health care organizations and health care providers to make informed decisions about the purchase and use of breast milk substitutes (formula) based on clinical research rather than advertising claims.

This Code supports families to make informed decisions and emphasizes that families choosing to give formula receive accurate information and a quality product, correctly labelled.

As a result of this Code, SEOCHC does not provide marketing information or samples to families.

Your Care Team

Your care team is made up of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, lactation consultant, family visitors and support staff who have all been extensively educated on their role and the Centre’s strong commitment to the Baby-Friendly Initiative.

Additional Resources

You can explore the following links for more information about feeding your baby:

Breastfeeding Matters (Book)

Bringing Evidence to Practice: Introducing the Baby-Friendly Initiative (English Video)

Pour passer des données à la pratique: voici l’Initiative Amis des bébés (French Video / Vidéo en Français)

About this video

The video is designed to guide health care providers and organizations on how to implement the Baby-Friendly Initiative.  The video covers topics such as the importance of breastfeeding, how breastfeeding is supported in Canada, how the Baby-Friendly Initiative benefits mothers and babies, how a facility can become Baby-Friendly, and ways to get organizations started. This video was developed through a partnership between the BFI Strategy for Ontario and BFI Ontario.