Best Fed Beginnings

A first-of-its-kind, nationwide quality improvement initiative to help hospitals improve maternity care and increase the number of “Baby-Friendly”-designated hospitals in the United States.


Status: Complete

October 2011 to March 2015

  • Who: Participants included 89 hospital teams from around the U.S.
  • Funder: The project was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and run in close partnership with Baby-Friendly USA and the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC).
  • Our Role: Facilitated three concurrent learning collaboratives that provide coaching to 89 hospitals on how to apply the Model for Improvement to maternity care in pursuit of Baby-Friendly designation. We also built Baby-Friendly USA’s and the USBC’s internal quality improvement capacity, raised awareness of the World Health Organization’s Breastfeeding Hospital Initiative (BFHI) and supported teams in establishing improved connection with community based breastfeeding coalitions.

Working Toward Baby-Friendly: Improving Breastfeeding Support in U.S. Hospitals (Part 1): In this first installment, follow the stories of four hospitals that have not yet achieved Baby-Friendly status as they begin their journey in NICHQ's Best Fed Beginnings quality improvement project. Watch as Barnes-Jewish Hospital (Missouri) works on patient-centered care, Presbyterian Hospital (New Mexico) increases skin-to-skin contact, Christiana Hospital (Delaware) focuses on staff buy-in and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital catalyzes the community by changing misconceptions around breastfeeding.

Note: Since these hospitals were in the process of improvement when this video was filmed, some of the practices presented do not fully adhere to Baby-Friendly standards.

Working Toward Baby-Friendly: Improving Breastfeeding Support in U.S. Hospitals (Part 2): In this second installment, follow the story of two teams in NICHQ’s Best Fed Beginnings initiative as they take the final steps toward becoming Baby-Friendly designated and reflect back on the journey of this groundbreaking, nationwide quality improvement project.