Barriers and Facilitators to Be Baby Friendly Hospital (BFH): The Experience of Tuzla Hospital

Izeta Softić


The aim of this review is to discuss the local experience of Tuzla’s hospital staff and the knowledge needed to become a Baby-Friendly Hospital (BFH). We also discuss the risks of formula feeding. While breast milk is the natural modality of infant feeding, in Tuzla Canton, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life is only 12%. During the war of 1992-1995, which was the worst European atrocity since World War II and the worst set of events in the recent history of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we had the opportunity to learn more about the impact of breastfeeding on child health from Chloe Fisher, a renowned clinical specialist on infant feeding. The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) held several seminars, about recommended practices and procedures needed to become a BFH. As a result, the Maternity Hospital was certified as a BFH in 2004 and has been operating with this status since then. While our Maternity Hospital and other related departments provided services and care of infants, many infant formula companies donated milk and organized conferences and other paediatric events to promote infant formula. This and other obstacles resulted in the fact that currently only 3 out of 7 mothers in our neonatology department breastfeed, and only 1 baby out of 7 is exclusively breastfed.

Conclusion – Transforming a hospital in Baby-Friendly means, amongst other things, all professionals must provide breastfeeding management to ensure a long-term breastfeeding policy. The current low breastfeeding rate in our hospitals is the result of inconsistent policies in achieving long-term goals in breastfeeding practices.


Infant Feeding Practice; Baby Friendly Hospital; Tuzla Canton

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