Send to

Choose Destination
Int Breastfeed J. 2007 Apr 23;2:8.

Implementing Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative policy: the case of New Zealand public hospitals.

Author information

Plunket Society, PO Box 1275, Dunedin, New Zealand.



Studies show that when the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is implemented breastfeeding rates increase. However, there are likely to be various barriers to BFHI implementation. This article reports on an empirical study of government-directed BFHI implementation in the New Zealand public hospital system. It focuses primarily on the barriers encountered through implementing the first Two Steps of the BFHI: developing BFHI policy and communicating it to staff; and providing necessary staff training.


Qualitative interview data were collected from six lactation consultants. These interviewees emerged via a purposive sample of public hospitals that represent the full range of New Zealand public hospitals. Using a content analysis technique, key themes were drawn from the transcribed interview data.


Analysis revealed eight themes: the hospitals were in varying stages of BFHI policy development; hospital policy was not necessarily based on government policy; hospital policies were communicated in differing ways and dependent on resources; factors outside of hospital control impacted on capacity to improve breastfeeding rates; and complex organisational matters pose a barrier to educating personnel involved in the birthing process.


The findings of this study provide empirical support for prior articles about the process of BFHI policy development and implementation. The study also shows that implementation is multi-faceted and complex.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center