What is the Lactation and Infant Feeding-Friendly Environments program?
The LIFE program, formerly known as the Breastfeeding Friendly Washington program, recognizes and designates health care organizations that work to support, protect, and promote lactation and follow maternity care practices that align with the World Health Organization’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and Baby-Friendly USA.
Hospitals, clinics, and midwife-owned birth centers across the state can become LIFE accredited—Bronze, Silver, or Gold—depending on the number of steps they’re doing that support lactation and infant feeding.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes that babies who are fed human milk are at less risk for illnesses, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), chronic conditions, and more likely to have established hunger cues and a healthy weight for their body into adolescence and adulthood. Parents who are breast/chestfeeding receive health protection from nursing such as reduced risks for post-partum depression, quicker recovery from pregnancy, reduced cancer risks, stronger bones, and more.
Why did the Breastfeeding Friendly Washington program change to Lactation and Infant-Feeding Friendly Environments?
The program has updated to align with:
- Baby-Friendly USA 2020 program updates
- WHO/Unicef program updates- “Infant and Young Child Feeding”
- Community input from families and coalitions
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts that address systemic barriers
- The latest research of evidence base maternity care practices