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Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI)

Health Equity Considerations

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is designed to implement hospital policies and procedures that support optimal breastfeeding practices.  Boston Medical Center (BMC) conducted the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in an academic teaching hospital serving primarily minority, poor, and immigrant families living in inner-city Boston, MA.  The Center TRT review compared study results of breastfeeding initiation rates at BMC before (1995), during (1998), and after the Baby-Friendly policies were implemented (1999). Demographics for women giving birth during these three years were African American 57%, Hispanic 23%, and White 14%, with 6% identifying as ‘other’ races.

Results of the Baby-Friendly Initiative demonstrated that successful implementation of Baby-Friendly policies is associated with an increase in breastfeeding rates across all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

BMC culturally adapted and displayed artwork depicting breastfeeding women and translated program materials into the three most common languages among the patient population: English, Spanish, and French Creole.