In 2021, the percent of live births that occurred in a Baby-Friendly Hospital as part of all live births
Hospitals designated “baby-friendly” by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) meet the organization’s standards for hospitals that promote best practices for infant feeding (breastfeeding).
The BFHI began in 1991 through the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). As part of the the BFHI, hospital staff are trained regarding the care of breastfeeding mothers and babies. Babies stay close to their mothers right after birth so that they can breastfeed as soon as they are ready. Policies allow healthy babies and their mothers to stay together day and night (rooming in) so they have the best chance to get to know each other. 
Emphasizing the positive health outcomes of breastfeeding impacts Oklahoma’s babies, mothers, and families.
Breastfeeding is the optimal way to provide nourishment and promote health for mother and child. Studies show that babies exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives are at a lower risk of illnesses like diabetes, childhood cancers, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) .
BFHI-designated hospitals have adopted procedures that emphasize the importance of breastfeeding in their practices, and they work. Children born at BFHI hospitals have higher rates of breastfeeding compared to facilities without the accreditation .
The BFHI stands on three basic pillars that outline the importance of human breast milk, mother-child bonding, and education about breastfeeding . Education is a cornerstone of BFHI accreditation, although providing evidence-based breastfeeding care is also required. In addition, racial and ethnic inequities are decreased in BFHI hospitals.
Oklahoma currently has eleven BFHI certified hospitals across the state .
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