Hospitals & Clinics

Is Your Hospital Baby-Friendly?

Baby-Friendly hospital designation, a 10-step process undertaken by hospitals and clinics worldwide, ensures that new moms have the information, confidence and skills to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding. Baby-Friendly™ USA is an independent designating agency (no affiliation with the NMBFTF). As Baby-Friendly USA updates its best practice guidelines, the NMBTF team strives to support the implementation of current recommendations.

There are 30 hospital facilities with maternity care units across the state; fourteen have been designated Baby-Friendly, and four of those are part of Indian Health Services. When you give birth at a Baby-Friendly hospital, breastfeeding is encouraged from the start. Skin-to-skin after birth is a standard practice, as is "rooming-in," (when babies stay in the rooms with their mothers rather than going to a nursery). Nurses and other medical staff have training to help you breastfeed successfully. At Baby-Friendly hospitals, breastfeeding is treated as a normal, healthy part of the bonding process between mother and baby is supported every step of the way.

Baby-Friendly hospitals must buy their own formula, rather than having it donated by formula companies. They must also make sure there is no formula advertised anywhere on their property or at associated clinics.


  • In 2000, the Task Force adopted an initiative to eliminate formula discharge packs, one of the 10 steps, from hospital nurseries throughout New Mexico.
  • To date, 18 out of 31 maternity care hospitals have “banned the bag” in New Mexico.
  • In 2012 the task force received funding to support a movement focused on making every maternity care hospital in NM Baby-Friendly.

The New Mexico Baby Friendly Hospital Project (NMBFHP) strives to support all hospitals and birthing centers in the state of New Mexico in meeting the requirements to be designated as “Baby-Friendly.” Becoming a Baby-Friendly hospital involves giving parents information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue nursing their babies. It also provides post-discharge resources and support.

This effort is based on a 1991 World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) set of criteria established to offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. Birthing facilities who become Baby-Friendly successfully implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding [1] and comply with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes [2].

[1] The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breast-feeding: The Special Role of Maternity Services. Geneva: WHO, 1989.
[2] International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. Geneva: WHO, 1981.

Lactation Professionals

The NM Breastfeeding Task Force BFHP offers scholarships and training and networking opportunities for lactation professionals who are invested in supporting their local hospitals and birthing centers in becoming Baby-Friendly™.

Healthcare Providers

The New Mexico Baby-Friendly Hospital Project strives to support healthcare providers in the state of New Mexico by:

  • Developing curricula for medical and nursing schools
  • Providing continuing education for providers on how to meet the Baby-Friendly USA and the Joint Commission Perinatal Core
  • Measure on exclusive breastfeeding requirements
  • Creating networking opportunities within and across disciplines

Hospital Administrators

Hospital administrators can help ensure that every mother and child have the option of successful breastfeeding, starting with making their hospital Baby-Friendly.

Is your hospital Baby-Friendly? The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

Funding Resources for Hospitals

1. Hospital Scholarships: to cover part of the Baby-Friendly fees and other costs related to progress along the Baby-Friendly Pathway.

2. Hospital Consultants: to assist with assessment, training, and mentoring/coaching related to progress along the Baby-Friendly Pathway.

Contact the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force for support on making your hospital Baby-Friendly™.