Thanks to a generous grant from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, Baptist Health and Healthy Active Arkansas will bring together representatives from every delivery hospital in Arkansas for the first ever Baby Friendly Arkansas Summit on May 3 and 4, 2018, at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock. The summit will support all of Arkansas’s birthing facilities in adopting and implementing the World Health Organization’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Arkansas’s breastfeeding rates are among the lowest in the country: our state ranks 49th in breastfeeding initiation and continuation at 6 and 12 months. Birth facility policies and practices significantly impact whether or not a woman chooses to start breastfeeding and how long she continues to breastfeed.

The summit will enable all facilities to take an incremental approach to the Ten Steps and work toward Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) designation for their facility if they desire. The summit will be presented by representatives of the birthing facilities that have implemented the Ten Steps at their facilities, and have achieved or are actively working towards achieving BFHI designation.

Baby Friendly Arkansas participating facilities will be provided with on-going coaching and technical assistance from program coordinators through monthly coaching calls and webinars. In addition to the summit and on-going support, Baby Friendly Arkansas will be hosting a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) course where each birthing facility can send representatives to complete a 45-hour educational program providing the competencies and skills required to provide safe, evidence-based counseling for pregnant, lactating, and breastfeeding women. Increasing the number of CLCs in our state’s birthing facilities will help to improve the evidence-based maternity practices that will increase breastfeeding initiation and duration in Arkansas, and lead to implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

Baby Friendly Arkansas looks forward to working collaboratively with all birthing facilities in our state to improve breastfeeding practices and the overall health of Arkansans. Below are some frequently asked questions, and contact information for your facility to get more information.


  1. Does participation in Baby Friendly Arkansas require the birthing facility to apply for Baby Friendly designation?
    No, there is no obligation to apply for or become a Baby-Friendly designated hospital.
  2. Is there a cost to participate?
    There is no cost for 2 participants to attend the summit, and 2 participants to attend the CLC course that will be held in Conway. Participants will be responsible for any travel-related expenses for both events.
  3. Do the same participants have to attend both the Summit and the CLC course?
    No. Facilities will want to send people on their team that will work on implementing the 10 steps at their facility to the summit, and perhaps send 2 other staff members to complete the 45-hour CLC course in September.
  4. Where and when will the summit and CLC course be held?
    The Summit will be held on May 3 and 4 at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock.
  5. How does our hospital register?
    Every birthing hospital in Arkansas was sent a welcome packet and registration form in the mail. Please complete the registration forms and mail or fax them as instructed in the packet. After registering your hospital, have the individuals that will attend the summit on May 3 and 4 register for free using this Eventbrite link.


For more information, please contact:
Jessica Donahue or Elizabeth Oyler