History of Baby Friendly
Baby Friendly was established in 1992 and was introduced to the UK in 1995.
The initiative was originally focused solely on maternity services, and provided a 10-step programme for maternity services to support and encourage mothers to breastfeed, in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. It was then expanded to include community services, with a dedicated 7-point plan to enable improved practice in community health care, in order to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.
However as the evidence base grew, wider benefits of breastfeeding and early relationships began to emerge, linking breastfeeding to an increase in mothering hormones and strong mother-baby bonding. Given these wider benefits, it became clear that Baby Friendly standards should also be applied more widely to ensure best outcomes for babies; going beyond maternity units into neonatal units, children’s centres and universities.
In 2012, Baby Friendly UK undertook a major review of all its standards, to ensure the best possible outcomes for children. Using a comprehensive literature review, along with focus groups, expert committees and an external consultation of mothers and health professionals, a new set of standards was developed – these continue to embed the original standards (Ten Steps and Seven Points), and have also been expanded to encompass neonatal units, children’s centres and universities.