Publication Date

Spring 4-24-2014


School of Health Sciences


Nursing (B.S.N.)


Baby Friendly, breastfeeding, infant nutrition, Baby-Friendly U.S.A., breastfeeding in the United States, barriers to breastfeeding, breast milk, Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Family Practice Nursing | Human and Clinical Nutrition | International Public Health | Maternal and Child Health | Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing | Medical Education | Nursing Midwifery | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Pediatric Nursing | Pediatrics | Public Health and Community Nursing | Public Health Education and Promotion | Women's Health



The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a worldwide movement started by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that is aimed at providing hospitals with a certification that guarantees the best possible patient-centered care for mothers and infants. It focuses on breastfeeding as optimal infant nutrition, and implements strategies to encourage and support mothers to breastfeed their infants exclusively for six months after birth. The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are a set of 10 simple, easy to understand guidelines developed by WHO and UNICEF for implementing this initiative in the hospital setting and are used as the foundation for the BFHI. This initiative has been successful in many countries across the globe since its initiation in the early 1990s, but has yet to become widespread within the United States. This thesis will examine the background of this initiative, its benefits for mothers and infants, and evaluate the progress of its implementation within the United States.