In 2008, Harlem Hospital became the first hospital in New York City to gain the special ‘Baby Friendly’ recognition for promoting breastfeeding among it’s mothers–mostly who are African-American and African. Being recognized as a baby-friendly hospital/birth center includes not distributing formula as well as supporting the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, created by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), defines itself as:

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. The BFHI assists hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.

Baby-Friendly USA is the national authority for the BFHI in the United States. According to their website, as of December 22, 2011 there are only 125 US-Baby Friendly Hospitals and Birth Centers. You can find their interactive map here.

This video is part of the Women’s eNews Black Matetnal Health Series. Find more info on this series here.

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