Posted by: Admin | July 7, 2011

Dear LC – Can the Baby-Friendly Initiative really help the Native people and is my Community Healing Center Baby-Friendly?

Yes, the Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) can certainly help native populations. Apart from the fact that native mothers and babies will receive better care, they will also benefit from better longer-term physical and health outcomes. In fact, Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States, made the BFI part of her “Let’s Move” campaign. The Baby-Friendly Initiative, also called the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) when only hospitals are concerned, was launched as part of “Let’s Move! in Indian Country” on June 22, 2011, at the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico. You can read the complete story at:

This breastfeeding initiative is designed to create a healthy start on life and help prevent childhood obesity. It brings an important partnership of first nations, communities, federal agencies, nonprofits organizations, and corporate partners, with the goal of ending the epidemic of childhood obesity in Indian Country within a generation. They would like to encourage at least twelve Tribal obstetric facilities to become Baby-Friendly by 2012.

Breastfeeding is the first stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle and it provides the child with a better metabolic response to the food she eats. Accompanied by a healthy diet all through her growing years, it gives the child the tools she needs to decrease her risk of obesity and diabetes.

The Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay states in its last Strategic Operational Plan states that all Eeyou Istchee health facilities should be Baby-Friendly certified by 2012. However, they have yet to adopt and sign a Breastfeeding Policy which entails the 1st and most important step of the BFI: that health and healing facilities in Eeyou Istchee adopt a policy that guarantees mothers and babies receive the best care.

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