Menu Close

Why Your Hospital is Stuck in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Process

Hospital building with green space in front and blue skies behind.

A while ago, I spoke with a nurse about her hospital’s efforts to earn the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation. She said the requirements had her hospital “stuck.” I’ve heard this often enough to realize that no matter who is “singing,” this song tends to have pretty much the same tune, and the same three stanzas.

“We’re stuck” in the Baby-Friendly Hospital process

The refrain is always the same: “We’re stuck, we’re stuck, we’re stuck.”

But I content that, “stuck” is a temporary condition. So what can be done about this obstacle?

This may sound like an over-simplified platitude, but honestly, you’ll need to find a way to knock it down, jump over it, tunnel under it, or run around it. Most obstacles are temporary.

Sticking points

Over several decades, I’ve seen three common sticking points for hospitals and other groups when they try to complete the Baby-Friendly Hospital process towards designation.

  • Institutional factors: The policies, procedures, protocols, structures, norms, values, staff buy-in, etc., aren’t present.
  • Implementation factors: The “structure” is present, but the process can feel cumbersome. “We can’t do X because of Y.” (Sometimes, tough analysis shows this is really, “We think we can’t do X because of Y.” Maybe even “We think we are doing X — but we aren’t.”)
  • Familial factors: The hospital personnel committed to evidence-based practice would do “it” (whatever “it” is) right, but mothers/families want no part of it. “Rooming-in? Noooo, thanks. This is my last night to sleep before I go home!” That kind of thing.

Before those sticking points can get resolved, it’s helpful to do a gap analysis. What’s not happening that should be happening? Revisit those three points I just mentioned.

Getting unstuck

As the consultant, it’s my job to sing a new refrain, one of success! I’ve never met a “stuck” hospital that couldn’t — with a bit of critical analysis and careful guidance — become unstuck in gaining Baby-Friendly Hospital designation.

Honestly? The “stuck” refrain could be set to music from The Wizard of Oz. “Because, because, because, because, because …” We’re stuck because of one of those three sticking points.

Here’s hoping that all involved can use what they need — brain, heart, and courage — when establishing a baby-friendly “home”.

And maybe we could all be a bit more like Dorothy! Discover that we’ve had the power all along …

Have you found your hospital stuck during the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation process? Tell me in the comments below!

Share this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.