Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding Friendly Washington Community Health Clinics

The Lactation and Infant Feeding Friendly Environments (LIFE) program is currently on pause.

Coming Soon! The Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Clinic Program for community health clinics is under development to align with the new Lactation and Infant Feeding-Friendly Environments (LIFE) program. If you would like to provide input on the program’s development, contact us at

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Community health clinics play an important role in supporting breastfeeding in their communities. Clinics provide key linkages between prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. Health care providers influence a woman's decision to breastfeed and the quality of support influences how long she breastfeeds. We want to recognize the effort, time, and cost it takes to change clinic practices to support breastfeeding. This support is critical to creating the healthiest next generation.

What Type of Clinic Should Apply?

Clinics serving women, infants, and families can achieve Breastfeeding Friendly recognition. Types of clinics include: community health, walk-in, hospital outpatient, combination practices, group medical practices, general hospital care centers, tertiary care centers, maternity center-based practices, solo medical practices, independent certified nurse-midwife practices and WIC offices*.

*If your WIC Clinic is part of a community clinic, we require that your entire community clinic apply to ensure patients receive consistent messaging and care.

Apply to Be Recognized as Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Clinic

There are three tiers of recognition (Bronze, Silver, and Gold) depending on where your facility is in the process of implementing Breastfeeding Friendly Washington's Ten Steps for Clinics.

To apply for recognition complete the Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Clinic Applications of your Choice:

Use the Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Clinic Toolkit (Word) for guidance. Submit your application to us at

Successful applicants will receive:

  • A certificate of recognition from the Washington State Department of Health.
  • Window clings with their designation level.
  • A graphic file with their designation level and a sample press release.
  • Promotion by the Department of Health through our website and on social media at #HealthiestNextGen and #BFfriendly. As clinics are certified Breastfeeding Friendly, they will be listed on our Find a Breastfeeding Friendly Facility page.

Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Ten Steps for Clinics

Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Clinics is based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding developed by the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics Ten Steps to Support Parents' Choice to Breastfeed Their Baby (PDF).

  1. Make a commitment to the importance of breastfeeding.
  2. Inform women and families about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  3. Assess infants during early follow-up visits.
  4. Encourage mothers to breastfeed when infants shows readiness or signs of hunger.
  5. Communicate support for breastfeeding in the clinic.
  6. Train all staff in the skills necessary to support breastfeeding.
  7. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation.
  8. Use anticipatory guidance supporting exclusive breastfeeding until about 6 months of age, and encourage continued breastfeeding as long as mutually desired by mother and baby infant.
  9. Support breastfeeding by providing accurate information about maternal health.
  10. Expand the network of breastfeeding support in your community.