Advancing BFHI

Dr. Wah Wong, the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) consultant with UNICEF Canada, and retired UNICEF International staff member, notes that the US now has 20 Baby-Friendly hospitals and Canada has one -- the Brome-Missisiquoi-Perkins Hospital in Cowansville, Quebec. For a hospital to be in compliance with both the Ten Steps and the International Code in order to receive the BFHI designation, Dr. Wong recommends that 2 steps be added:

11th step -- Compliance with the International Code -- this step is needed to rid Canada's hospitals of the contractual obligations to infant formula companies, which continue to provide 80 per cent of hospitals with free formula.

12th step -- Support a bottle feeding mother's decision -- assurances must be made that a mother is fully informed and if she decides to artificially feed then to give her support and guidance in private.

Dr. Wong notes that the 12th step does not give an endorsement of artificial feeding but recognizes a place for mothers who make this choice for medical or other reasons. This he believes will give a firmer basis on which to turn our hospitals and communities to a breastfeeding culture. --Wong, W. Canadian Nurse. 96: 10-11, 2000-12-07

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