Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI)

CGBI: Breastfeeding-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-friendly community is a healthier, more welcoming community for young families of all races and ethnicities.

A mother’s decision to breastfeed her baby should be supported by her family and community. Most mothers initiate breastfeeding in the hospital; however, many stop breastfeeding within a few days or week. Therefore, the BREASTFEEDING-FRIENDLY CITY/COMMUNITY DESIGNATION (BFCD) 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 (BFCD) 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 BFCD 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/city’s elected or appointed leadership has a written statement of policy supporting breastfeeding that is routinely communicated to all.
  2. The community/city provides a welcoming atmosphere for breastfeeding families.
  3. Early and Exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months, and continued breastfeeding with appropriately-timed introduction of complementary foods, are encouraged for at least a year and for as long as the mother and child desire.
  4. During pregnancy, all families in the community are informed about the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as about the risks of unnecessary formula use, where to access support as needed.
  5. Health care in the community/city is breastfeeding-friendly.
  6. Non-health system breastfeeding support groups and services are fully available in the community, including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC), La Leche League (LLL), International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), and other skilled breastfeeding support.
  7. The business and social organizations in the community/city as a whole provide a welcoming atmosphere for 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 or the The US Business Case for Breastfeeding is promulgated by the U.S. government Department of Health and Human Services and the Chamber of Commerce.
  10. Education systems, including childcare, K-12, colleges and universities, are encouraged to include 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)