Best Fed Beginnings
NICHQ, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is leading a nationwide effort in close partnership with Baby-Friendly USA to help hospitals improve maternity care and increase the number of “Baby-Friendly” hospitals in the United States. A total of 89 hospitals have been recruited from across the country to participate in a 22-month learning collaborative. While participating, they use quality improvement methods to learn how to make system-level changes to maternity care practices in pursuit of Baby-Friendly designation. Becoming designated as Baby-Friendly verifies that a hospital has comprehensively implemented the American Academy of Pediatrics-endorsed Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, as established in the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and complies with the International Code of Marketing for Breast-Milk Substitutes.
Participating hospitals are using quality improvement techniques following the Breakthrough Series approach. In this model, teams work with each other and with national breastfeeding and quality improvement experts through in-person meetings and webinars. Regional collaboratives have been established to help participating teams better connect to each other and to local resources.