Public consultation on the draft of the document: Protection, Promotion, and Support of Breastfeeding in Facilities Providing Maternity and Newborn Services: The Revised Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative 2017

11 - 29 October 2017

WHO and UNICEF are conducting an online consultation to solicit comments on revised guidance for the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative. These comments will be taken into consideration in finalizing the document prior to publication and dissemination worldwide. We thank you for your comments and suggestions to this draft.


Since 1991, WHO and UNICEF have led the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) to support maternity care facilities worldwide to improve the quality of care for infant feeding. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the BFHI aims to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding in all facilities that provide maternity and newborn services, worldwide.

Almost all countries in the world have implemented the BFHI at some point in time. However, coverage within most countries has remained low. As of 2017, WHO estimated that only about 10% of babies in the world were born in a facility currently designated as Baby-friendly. Many countries have struggled to sustain the initiative over time.

WHO developed new guidelines on the Ten Steps in 2017 based on systematic evidence reviews on each of the steps. The guidelines were written by an external Guideline Development Group following standard WHO procedures. The guidelines are finalized and will be published in November 2017. These guidelines form the basis for the revised Ten Steps. To assist countries in assuring that all facilities adopt the revised Ten Steps in a sustainable way, WHO and UNICEF have developed revised guidance on implementing the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, with the aim to increase coverage and sustainability. WHO and UNICEF are inviting public comment on the proposed new guidance.

Interested parties are encouraged to provide comments on one or more of the five chapters of the document as well as overarching comments by completing the online form (see form below).

Please send any questions on the online consultation process to
The online consultation is open from 11-29 October 2017.