The Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

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The Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria are the most important tool to guide the work of hospitals through the Baby-Friendly designation process.

Recently there was an article published in JAMA-Pediatrics which has triggered some discussion in blogs and other media about the safety of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) and the practice of mothers and infants remaining together throughout the hospital stay.  Click here to read Baby-Friendly USA’s response.  Another article published in JAMA in the same issue points to how these practices save lives.  Click here to access the article by Drs. Meek and Noble titled Implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding Saves Lives.

The AAP has also released a Clinical Report on Safe Sleep and Skin-to-Skin Care in the Neonatal Period for Healthy Term Newborns. It offers sound recommendations for the safe implementation of these practices and well-vetted references.  Click here to access the report.

Baby-Friendly USA released updated “Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria for Facilities Seeking Baby-Friendly Designation” (2016 Revision).  As indicated by the title, it includes both the Guidelines facilities would need to follow to achieve full Baby-Friendly status and Evaluation Criteria that clearly spell out the minimum standards that a facility must achieve in order to become Baby-Friendly designated. ·        

  • GUIDELINES: These represent the standard of care that facilities should strive to achieve for all patients.
  • EVALUATION CRITERIA:  These represent the minimum standard that a facility must achieve in order to become Baby-Friendly designated.


Click here
to download the 2016 edition.


Click here
for a summary of the changes.  




Baby-Friendly USA has prepared and published dates for implementation the revised Guidelines and Criteria, to provide clarity and amply time for facilities to comply:

  • Designated facilities: All designated facilities must come into compliance with the new GEC by October 31, 2018
  • Facilities seeking designation: All facilities with on-site assessments taking place after Oct 31, 2018 will be assessed using the 2016 edition 
Click here to view the previous version of the Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria (2010) in the archives.


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