Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI)

CGBI: Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community Designation

In 2011, the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding highlighted a need for a community level, multifaceted approach to breastfeeding support.

Exclusive breastfeeding has been referred to as “The Great Equalizer”, because (it) “goes a long way toward canceling out the health difference between being born into poverty or being born into affluence” (JP Grant, when UNICEF Executive Director). A breastfeeding family friendly community is a healthier, more welcoming community for young families of all races and ethnicities.

A parent’s decision to breastfeed an infant should be supported by the family and community. Most families initiate breastfeeding in the hospital; however, many stop breastfeeding within a few days or week. Therefore, the BREASTFEEDING FAMILY FRIENDLY COMMUNITY DESIGNATION (BFFCD) is a program designed to complement the Global Revised, Updated and Expanded Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative. Designation sends the message that the community respects a family’s desires and appreciates the benefits of breastfeeding to the health of the child, the mother, the family, and the community.


The Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community Designation (BFFCD) initiative has its roots in a request from the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to develop a community breastfeeding program that can be used to strengthen breastfeeding support and normalization.

A pilot designation program was launched in 2015 to expand breastfeeding-friendly practices in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC. The BFFCD team includes: the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, Chapel Hill- Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, Chapel Hill Rotary, Inter-Faith Council for Social Services (IFC), La Leche League of Chapel Hill (LLL), Office of the Mayors of  Chapel Hill and Carrboro, Orange County Department of Health, and faith-based groups.

For information and resources to support your community to become breastfeeding friendly, visit the Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities website.

To learn about other communities working towards the designation, check out the “Our Communities” dropdown on the Homepage.

Ten Steps to a Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community

  1. The community’s elected or appointed leadership has a written statement supporting breastfeeding that is routinely communicated to all.
  2. The community as a whole provides a welcoming atmosphere for chest/breastfeeding families.
  3. Optimal chest/breastfeeding is supported by health leadership.
  4. During pregnancy, all families in the community are informed about the benefits of chest/breastfeeding, as well as about the risks of unnecessary formula use, and where to access support as needed.
  5. Health care in the community is chest/breastfeeding-friendly.
  6. Non-health system chest/breastfeeding support groups and services are fully available in the community, including International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), peer-to-peer lactation support providers, and other skilled lactation support.
  7. The business and social organizations in the community  welcome chest/breastfeeding families.
  8. Local businesses and healthcare clinics/offices follow the principles of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.
  9. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) maternity care and employment or, in the US, The US Business Case for Breastfeeding is promulgated by the government and the Chamber of Commerce or equivalent.
  10. Education systems, including child care, K-12, colleges and universities, are encouraged to include chest/breastfeeding-friendly curricula at all levels.

Download the expanded document with measures for each step here.


June 13, 2016– Mayor Pam Hemminger signs “Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community” Proclamation for the Town of Chapel Hill.

June 28, 2016– Mayor Lydia E. Lavelle signs “Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community” Proclamation for the Town of Carrboro.

April, 2017– Awarded North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition Mini-Grant.

41 Breastfeeding Family Friendly Business Designations (as of 9/18/2017)