Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Joanna Carrega

Second Advisor

Dr. Kasey Jordan

Abstract

The health benefits of breastfeeding infants for at least the first six months of life are widely known, but the majority of women begin supplementing breast milk with formula within three months after birth. In 1991, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) to increase breastfeeding rates worldwide. This initiative focuses on providing evidence-based, maternity care with an emphasis on improving breastfeeding rates. There are ten steps that hospitals must implement to some degree in order to become a Baby-Friendly hospital; these steps focus on educating the staff and the mothers on breastfeeding techniques, encouraging exclusive breastfeeding to include the first night after labor, and providing continuing support for breastfeeding mothers after they leave the hospital. Nurses play a large role in the success of the BFHI because they work so closely with the mothers. Nurses should be able to provide care without their personal attitudes toward breastfeeding affecting the quality of care, but a positive attitude toward breastfeeding would be beneficial to implementing the BFHI effectively. The BFHI is mentioned in several newer editions of maternal nursing care textbooks, exposing nursing students to the idea and goal of the BFHI earlier than in the past.

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