The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 1991 to ensure that all birthing hospitals and centers become "centers of breastfeeding support."
One year later, the US Department of Health and Human Services funded an Expert Work Group to consider how to implement the global Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States. Evaluation tools to support the BFHI assessment process were developed and pilot tested by Wellstart International based on the recommendations of the Expert Work Group in 1994. Three years later, at the request of the US Committee for UNICEF, the Healthy Children Project, Inc. accepted responsibility for creating an organization which would serve as the designating body for the BFHI in the United States. In August 1997, Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. (BFUSA) was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and the national authority for BFHI in the United States.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is experiencing tremendous growth in the United States as more birthing facilities commit to becoming Baby-Friendly. As a result of this expansion, BFUSA expanded its operation and moved its headquarters to Albany, NY.