Baby Friendly Initiative


 The Baby Friendly Initiative is a certification program started by UNICEF and the World Health Organization in 1991.  It is based on ten evidenced-based steps to support and maintain breastfeeding in a hospital or health unit/community.  The Breastfeeding Committee for Canada is the national body to assess the Baby Friendly Designation, while The BC Baby-Friendly Network is the provincial body.

To be designated Baby Friendly, an organization must go through a rigorous assessment by this independent body.  It must conform to the Ten Steps and the International Code of Marketing of  Breastmilk Substitutes.  It must have a breastfeeding policy, support consistent breastfeeding education for all staff, and a plan to maintain all ten steps.

Baby Friendly Designation benefits mothers, babies, families, healthcare workers, organizations, and communities.  Families should expect consistent, evidenced based information and support to initiate and maintain breastfeeding.  Health professionals working with breastfeeding families should have the knowledge and skills to assist families with their breastfeeding goals 

Local progress


  • The first step is to have a Breastfeeding Policy.  IHA has been working on this for a number of years!  It must address all the 10 steps- and if you look at those,  you can see how difficult it can be to get a multi-disciplinary group to agree on all of them.
  •  RIH has had a Board Certified Lactation Consultant on staff since the late 1990s, but recently this position has be deleted. 
  • In March of 2015, the Perinatal Services Association of BC announced that they have reached an agreement for a province–wide purchase contract to purchase formula for hospitals.  One step accomplished! 
  • In the fall of 2015, the BC government created a position and hired a provincial Lead to assist communities towards becoming Baby Friendly.  This individual is a resident of Kamloops with a long history of breastfeeding advocacy.  
  • Education of all staff in breastfeeding.   Douglas College offers a Breastfeeding Course once a year in Kamloops and many of the nursing staff who work in the Maternal-Child field have taken it, but it is not a requirement to work in the maternal child area. 

What you can do


  • Write to the Interior Health Authority (IHA) / Royal Inland Hospital to encourage them to support and work towards the Baby Friendly designation. see below for contacts.
  • write to Interior Health to express your concern about Royal Inland Hospital eliminating the Lactation Consultant position on maternity. download a template from the files below  Email to COO  and  Maternity Manager  or mail to the CEO.
  • Share your experience - both good and bad- on our blog and/or facebook page 
  • Share your talents: volunteer with BMIK.  We are always looking for talent in: art, health care, politics, computer science, communications, PR, and energy. 

Interior Health Contacts

Interior Health CEO;  Chris Mazaurkewich, 220- 1815 Kirschner Rd, Kelowna, BC
Interior Health Chief Operating Officer: Hospital & Community:  Susan Brown  220- 1815 Kirschner Rd, Kelowna, BC
RIH Maternal/ Child Manager: