1. Home
  2. Services
  3. Maternity Services
  4. Baby-Friendly Initative

Baby-Friendly Initiative

Emory Decatur Hospital is the first hospital in the state of Georgia to be recognized as Baby-Friendly.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative’s goal is to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies through breastfeeding and immediate skin-to-skin bonding.

The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.

Steps to receiving Baby-Friendly designation include:

  • A written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  • Training all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  • Informing all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  • Helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  • Showing mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  • Giving newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  • Practicing “rooming in,” allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  • Encouraging breastfeeding on demand.
  • No pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  • Fostering the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and referring mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

As a Baby-Friendly hospital, all Women and Infant services staff are trained to assist mothers in gaining the skills and confidence they need to breastfeed starting with prenatal appointments and they are available once the baby arrives.

Other important practices of Baby-Friendly hospitals include encouraging skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns and rooming in. Both practices encourage bonding and improve the newborn’s ability to breastfeed.

Studies also show that immediate skin-to-skin contact help newborns’ maintain their temperatures better, normalize heart and breathing rates and reduce their likeliness of crying.

Along with earning the Baby-Friendly designation, Emory Decatur Hospital also earned a Georgia 5-STAR Hospital Recognition from the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The Georgia 5-STAR Hospital Recognition program is awarded to hospitals that have accomplished all ten steps of the “Baby-Friendly” designation. Hospitals and birthing facilities that accomplish each step of the Baby-Friendly designation are awarded one star for every two steps implemented from the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Hospitals are also required to complete the Georgia Breastfeeding Program-Scorecard Tool to receive their stars.


contact us

FIND AN OBSTETRICIAN online bill pay access my account

Emory Decatur Hospital

Maternity Center


Contact Maternity
in the news
Visit Press Releases