A practice-based culminating experience with Texas Children's Hospital: A hospital's journey to baby-friendly status

Monique N Green, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Breastfeeding and the use of human milk are widely accepted as the most complete form of nutrition for infants. Breastfeeding is shown to be associated with many positive health outcomes for both infants and mothers. Healthy People 2000 goals to increase breastfeeding rates in the early postpartum period to 75% fell short, with only 64% of mothers meeting this objective. Lack of support from healthcare providers, and unsupportive hospital policies and practices are noted as barriers to the initiation and duration of breastfeeding. The purpose of this study was to evaluate implementation of the BFHI Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding at Texas Children's Hospital. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was developed in 1991 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to ensure that healthcare facilities offering maternity services adhere to the Ten Steps of Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, and create legislation to protect the rights of breastfeeding women. The instrument used in this study was the BFHI 100 Assessment Tool created by Dr. Laura Haiek, Director of Public Health in Monteregie, Quebec, and her staff at Health and Social Services Agency of Quebec. The BFHI 100 tool utilizes 100 different indicators of compliance with BFHI through questionnaires administered to staff and administrators, pregnant and postpartum mothers, and an observer. The study concluded that although there is much room for improvement in educating breastfeeding mothers, overall, the mothers interviewed were satisfied with their level of care in regards to breastfeeding support. Areas of improvement include staff training, as some nursing staff admitted to relying on the lactation consultants to provide most of the breastfeeding education for mothers. Only a small percentage of mothers interviewed reported that their baby “roomed-in” on average of 22 hours per day during their hospital stay. Staff encouragement of the rooming-in practice will help to increase the proportion of mothers who allow their babies to room-in. The current breastfeeding policy will also need to be revised and strengthened to be compliant with the Ten Steps. Ideally, Baby-Friendly practices will become the norm after staff are trained and policy revisions are made. Staff training and acceptance of breastfeeding as optimal nutrition for infants are the most critical factors that will ultimately drive change for the organization.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Green, Monique N, "A practice-based culminating experience with Texas Children's Hospital: A hospital's journey to baby-friendly status" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1454484.