Topic: Breastfeeding


Best Fed Beginnings

Status: Complete

WHAT: 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.

WHO: Participants included 89 hospital teams from around the United States.

WHEN: October 2011 to March 2015

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).

NICHQ'S ROLE: Facilitated three concurrent learning collaboratives that provide coaching to 89 hospitals on how to apply the Model for Improvement to improve maternity care in pursuit of Baby-Friendly designation. NICHQ 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.

Designation Status and Final Report

As of Nov. 17, 2015, 56 of the 89 hospitals achieved Baby-Friendly designation (see list). This increases the number of births in Baby-Friendly designated hospitals by 155,000 per year. Learn more about the successful methods used in the Best Fed Beginnings initiative in the final report (Full reportExecutive summary).

Project Videos

In the first installment of this two-part series, we introduce you to four hospitals that have not yet achieved Baby-Friendly status and are beginning their journey in NICHQ's Best Fed Beginnings quality improvement project.

In the second installment, we check in with two of the teams from NICHQ’s Best Fed Beginnings initiative as they take the final steps toward becoming Baby-Friendly designated.

“We are very proud to be the first academic medical center in South Carolina to achieve Baby-Friendly designation. This is a huge win for all the mothers and babies cared for at MUSC. The hard work and dedication of every nurse, physician and support staff who all wanted the right thing for our patients made it possible.”

Karen Driggers
Best Fed Beginnings team leader
Nurse Manager, The Medical University of South Carolina


  • 218,000 More Babies Per Year to Be Delivered at Baby-Friendly Hospitals [Read]
  • Georgia Becomes Baby-Friendly One Hospital at a Time [Read]
  • Best Fed Beginnings Hospital Still Making Headlines: MUSC Opens First Milk Bank in South Carolina [Read]
  • List of Best Fed Beginnings Hospitals Designated Baby-Friendly [Read]
  • How to Spread Breastfeeding Best Practices from One Hospital to an Entire System [Read]
  • Hospitals Tap Grandparents to Help Support Breastfeeding [Read]
  • Making the Business Case for Hospitals to Support Breastfeeding Moms [Read]
  • How to Determine Fair Market Value for Purchasing Formula [Read]
  • Fathers Hold Key to Breastfeeding Success [Read]
  • Breastfeeding Education—Yes, There's An App for That [Read]
  • Confronting Cultural Barriers to Breastfeeding [Read]
  • Goodbye Nursery, Hello Rooming In [Read]
  • Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact Boosts Breastfeeding Rates [Read]
  • Don’t Cry as Pacifiers Go Bye-Bye [Read]

Case Study

Learn more about the results of NICHQ's work to help improve breastfeeding support for families across the country.

View Case Study