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WHO and UNICEF release proposed new guidelines for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

October 18, 2017

The WHO and UNICEF released proposed new guidelines for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) on October 18. The document, entitled “Protection, Promotion, and Support of Breastfeeding in Facilities Providing Maternity and Newborn Services: The Revised Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative 2017,” describes a revised set of Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and offers updated guidance for implementing the BFHI worldwide.

WHO and UNICEF asked for public comments on this document by Tuesday, October 24, and will take feedback into consideration in finalizing the guidelines prior to publication and dissemination. More information is available on the WHO website, where you can request a copy of the document via email.

This is clearly an important document for Baby-Friendly practices throughout the world, and BFUSA is in the process of carefully reviewing its contents. We plan to submit our comments by next Tuesday and encourage you to do so as well. We will have more to say on the new guidelines once we have fully digested the proposed revisions and the document moves toward finalization. In the meantime, it is important for hospitals to understand that there are NO changes to the current BFUSA standards and designation process at this time. Once the WHO and UNICEF release a final document and BFUSA determines if changes to the current Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria are necessary, hospitals will be informed with ample time to implement the standards.

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