Aberdeen Main Entrance

Aberdeen Hospital of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia has been designated as “Baby-Friendly” by the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (BCC). 

It is one of only three hospitals in Atlantic Canada to receive this designation. It is also the first hospital within Nova Scotia Health to receive this award. IWK Health was designated in 2018.

The Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) is an evidence based international initiative to protect, promote and support breast feeding. It is now a globally recognized indicator of maternal and child health that was started in the nineties by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.  

In Canada, BFI designation is awarded to hospitals and community health services providing maternity and newborn care that meets Canadian best practice standards set by the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada.

These include the practice of skin-to-skin contact following the birth, rooming babies in with their families, educating parents about the benefits of breastfeeding and providing follow up care after the family leaves the hospital.

“It is known that the work involved in achieving designation results in improved health outcomes for both mothers and also newborns with evidence demonstrating that breast feeding improves population health: it promotes brain development and reduces the risk of obesity in children and protects women against breast and ovarian cancer and diabetes,” said Sally Loring, senior director, Women & Children’s Health Program at Nova Scotia Health.

This award is as a result of approximately five years’ work culminating in the hospital hosting three Baby-Friendly Initiative assessors from Breast Feeding Committee of Canada who completed the final piece of the three-part assessment process for Baby-Friendly Designation – a two-day external assessment.  

“The fact that our journey towards this designation has been several years in the making really reflects the hospital’s commitment to ensure that we provide a high standard of care to each woman who delivers here,” said Deborah MacDonald, manager, Women & Children’s Health Program / Palliative Care, Aberdeen Hospital. “We are proud that from the beginning all of our staff recognized that providing families with the resources and information they needed not only ensured they are fully engaged in their delivery experience but that they are also supporting early infant bonding and safe feeding practices.”  

At the end of November, Nova Scotia Health received a letter informing them of the results of their final assessment and notifying them that they received the designation. 

The letter ends with this quote from the Co-Chairs BFI Assessment Committee Breastfeeding Committee for Canada, “The Board of Directors of the BCC recognizes the hard work of everyone involved in implementing the standards to become ‘Baby-Friendly.’ Congratulations on having achieved the standard of care provided to mothers and babies embodied in ‘Baby-Friendly’ designation. The work of everyone at Aberdeen Hospital serves as an inspiration to others working in birthing facilities across Canada."