The BREASTFEEDING FAMILY FRIENDLY COMMUNITY (BFFC) DESIGNATION is a program designed to complement the Global Revised, Updated and Expanded Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative. The designation is granted by the BFFC Designating Group, based on recommendations and support from the BFFC Team. [Note: The BFFC team for the pilot included the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI), local La Leche League (LLL), Chapel Hill Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Office of the Mayors of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, Orange County Department of Health, Interfaith Council, local school districts, NCBC and faith-based groups.] The Designating Group may be part of the Team. If any possible conflict of interest is identified, it will be addressed by the Team.
Breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding, is associated with lower rates of obesity, diabetes, infectious diseases, and other child illnesses, as well as less maternal breast and ovarian cancers, diabetes and a faster recovery from childbirth as compared to formula feeding. Breastfeeding is also associated with overall a better chance for lifelong health and development, as well as better school performance and other achievements. In addition, exclusive breastfeeding has been referred to as “The Great Equalizer”, because (it) “goes a long way toward canceling out the health difference between being born into poverty or being born into affluence” (JP Grant, when UNICEF Executive Director). A breastfeeding family friendly community is a healthier, more welcoming community for young families of all races and ethnicities.
The Ten Steps(to a Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community) are the foundation of the designation. Any municipality or incorporated region may become designated by completing the following Ten Steps self-appraisal. Work begins when two or more community members come together to create a ‘Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community Designation’ Team that will lead the community in satisfying the requirements of the Ten Steps.
This award provides recognition of the quality of care for breastfeeding families that are afforded in that community. Since the majority of parents in the US and worldwide are deciding to breastfeed, this sends the message that the community respects their desires and appreciates the benefits of breastfeeding to the health of the child, the family, and the community.
The designation may be sought at any time. [Hint: We recommend approaching governments during World Breastfeeding Week or National Breastfeeding Month, when governments are more receptive to a breastfeeding initiative.] While ongoing verification by the community team is suggested, recertification by the Designating Group will be carried out every 3 years with the opportunity for growth and improvement.
To be designated a “Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community,” the community (e.g., city town, state, SMSA) must be able to honestly respond in the positive to all the measures under each of the Ten Steps and allow each to be verified by the local Designating Group. The local Designating Group will assess the following measures using suggested approaches annually for 3 years, then every 3 years thereafter. When all steps have been achieved, the Designating Group will notify national and international breastfeeding organizations (e.g., your local, national, and international breastfeeding coalitions).
1Definition of optimal breastfeeding: Early and exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months and continued breastfeeding, with appropriately-timed introduction of complementary foods, for at least 1-2 years and for as long as the mother and child desire.