Baby-Friendly USA values the many wonderful community-based and professional organizations and individuals that provide technical assistance and implementation support to birthing facilities pursuing Baby-Friendly designation. Their efforts amplify our message and enable the rapid spread of optimal infant feeding care through the US. We are grateful to them for their enormous contributions and seek to continue building productive and collaborative relationships with them in the future.
We hope the following information will be helpful as we work together toward our shared goals.
The Unique Contribution of TA Providers
Technical Assistance (TA) providers deliver unique and critical services to hospitals and birthing centers that, as an accreditation organization, Baby-Friendly USA does not provide. Baby-Friendly USA provides assessment and designation services as well as clarification of our processes and Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria, but we do not offer implementation support services.
TA providers may be state or local health departments, quality improvement organizations, breastfeeding coalitions, professional organizations or universities. They all have in common a deep desire to help hospitals improve maternity care practices to better support optimal infant nutrition and mother-baby bonding. Each TA provider offers a different array of services and approaches to working with facilities. The types of services a TA organization provides may include:
- Generate interest in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative among key hospital personnel
- Encourage and support the hospital through the change process
- Help facility leaders understand their options for practice change
- Connect facilities that have solved a particular problem with those still wrestling with that issue
- Assist with staff training efforts
- Assist with continuity of care issues (Steps 3 and 10)
- Provide training and support on quality improvement methods
- Offer collaborative learning sessions
- Help with fundraising to defray costs, if necessary
These services are delivered with the understanding that TA providers act on their own behalf and/or on the behalf of their employer and funder, not as a representative of Baby-Friendly USA. Baby-Friendly USA is unable to endorse or recommend any specific TA providers.
Things for TA Providers to Avoid
While the breadth of services provided can be quite broad, the technical assistance role also involves several restrictions. We ask that TA providers not:
- Represent themselves as an agent of Baby-Friendly USA. (Baby-Friendly USA does not “certify” nor employ technical assistance providers.)
- Do the work for the facility (e.g., write the infant feeding policy or training plan)
- Create extra work for the hospital (e.g., when writing grant proposals, do not agree to cumbersome additional requirements)
- Establish goals outside of the BFHI (e.g., reduced c-section rates or additional requirements for physician education)
- Promise Baby-Friendly designation within an unrealistic timeframe
Use of the Baby-Friendly Term
We also ask that TA organizations not misuse the term “Baby-Friendly” in any way.
- Baby-Friendly is a registered certification mark.
- We prohibit the use of the term in any way that creates confusion about the mark, implies Baby-Friendly USA “approval” when it has not been given, or inaccurately suggests a relationship with BFUSA.
For More Information
Please contact BFUSA with any questions about the role of Technical Assistance Organizations.