Baby Friendly Health Initiative for Medical Staff

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What you will learn

The Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI) is a health promotion strategy. The goal of the BFHI is to improve the nutrition of infants and young children through the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global initiative launched by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) in 1991. It was introduced into Australia in 1992 and is now administered by the Australian College of Midwives (ACM).

In 2006, the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative became the Baby Friendly Health Initiative in Australia to more accurately reflect the expansion of the initiative into the community health settings. BFHI aims to give every baby the best start in life by creating a health care environment where breastfeeding is accepted as the biologically normal way to feed an infant. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of the infants’ life and a complementary diet of food and breastmilk from six months and past the second year.1

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in Hospitals and the 7 Point Plan for Community Services are the global standards by which health services are assessed and accredited as 'Baby Friendly' and form the foundation of BFHI. A 'Baby Friendly' health service is one where mothers' informed choice of feeding is supported, respected and encouraged and benefits all mothers regardless of how they decide to feed.

During BFHI assessment the assessor will interview staff and mothers, make observation within the facility/community health service and review appropriate documentation, educational materials and any sample bags provided to parents.

BFHI accreditation occurs every 3 years, ensures regular independent assessment and provides facilities with the framework and support to continuously improve.


This course is for staff who may provide general breastfeeding advice but do not assist mothers with breastfeeding (e.g. medical staff, some physiotherapists and dietitians).

Learning outcomes

On completion of this BFHI eLearning program for Group 2 personnel you will be able to:

  • recognise the importance of the BFHI in the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding
  • distinguish the educational requirements for BFHI accreditation
  • knowledge of International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
  • list the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding that forms the foundation of BFHI
  • knowledge of World Health Organisation (WHO) acceptable medical reasons for use of breastmilk substitutes
  • compare the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding with the 7 Point Plan for Community Services.


  1. Australian College of Midwives. BFHI Handbook for Maternity facilities. 2016. Available from:

About this course


This program will take approximately 2 hours to complete.


On successful completion of the assessments you can download a certificate of completion.


This course adheres to South Australian (SA Health) guidelines and Australian National Standards.

The principles described in the course can however be applied to any health care setting.

If you practice outside South Australia it is your responsibility to refer to the specific requirements of your local health authority.


For more information on the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding, refer to the following resources:

Australian Breastfeeding Association

Standards for implementation of the ten steps to successful breastfeeding, 2016 – Australian College of Midwives – Handbook for Maternity Facilities

Baby Friendly Online Education – Digital Media, eLearning

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding – UNICEF – WHO baby friendly

BFHI Handbook for Maternity facilities – page 51.

Safe Sleeping

SA Health South Australian Perinatal Practice Guidelines

BFHI Handbook for Maternity Facilities – Appendix 2: WHO Acceptable Medial Reasons for Use of Breastmilk Substitutes

Australian Medicines Handbook (AMH)

Contact your local Pregnancy Drug Information Service (listed in appendix F of the AMH).

  • In South Australia the centre is based at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the phone number is (08) 8161 7222.

Lactmed (USA)

The Organisation of Teratology Specialists – factsheets including information on medicines and drugs in pregnancy and breastfeeding

The UK breastfeeding network

WCHN Breastfeeding Policy Directive

WCHN Breastfeeding Procedure

Resources for mothers

Australian Breastfeeding Association – 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 2 686)

Child and Family Health Services (CaFHS) – 1300 733 606 or

Parent Helpline – 1300 364 100

Find a Lactation Consultant –

Employee Policy

Breastfeeding Procedure

BFHI Handbook for Maternity Facilities – Baby Friendly Health Initiative, Australia. Australian College of Midwives.
Updated 2016 incorporating the revised World Health Organisation (WHO) & UNICEF Global Standards for BFHI.

South Australian Perinatal Guidelines – SA Health

Aboriginal resources

The Queensland Health Growing Strong resources have been developed to help health staff talk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families about nutrition for mothers, babies and young children.

Formula feeding

The following resource was developed for parents who have already made the decision to feed their infant with formula. It was developed in line with BFHI criteria that states information regarding infant formula must be available to parents, but not displayed.

Course structure