Health Professionals’ Newsletter

The Baby-Friendly Health Initative (BFHI) in Singapore

The Baby-Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI) was launched by WHO and UNICEF in 1991 as a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding. 5 maternity hospitals in Singapore have implemented the BFHI guidelines with the aim of being certified baby-friendly by 2014.

In an interview with Dr Mythili Pandi, general practitioner, lead assessor of the BFHI and breastfeeding mother of 2 young children, we explored what the BFHI means for Singapore.

Dr Mythili says

Becoming baby-friendly is a big step for Singapore! It puts the welfare of the youngest generation at the forefront. By taking dedicated steps towards encouraging hospitals to provide mothers with the necessary tools to breastfeed, we are ensuring the health and wellbeing of our future generation.

Working With Health Professionals

Dr Mythili adds:

Health professionals play an essential role. New parents who need breastfeeding information and who do not have any other breastfeeding support will look towards health professionals, such as their family physician, GP or nurses, for help. These professionals need to be supported in equipping themselves with adequate, evidence-based information, so that they can go on to provide parents with good information. This would ultimately benefit the breastfeeding mother-baby dyad.

Dr Mythili also shares that it will be easier to increase acceptance of breastfeeding amongst doctors by facilitating easy access to information such as websites, journal articles or mobile applications.

The implementation of the BFHI in Singaporean maternity hospitals is exciting work! As health professionals, we can help improve healthcare for infants and future generations. Let’s begin by affirming and encouraging parents’ wishes to breastfeed while equipping ourselves with the most current breastfeeding knowledge available.