Infant Feeding Sig 

Current Committee

Chair: Rachel Jones
Secretary: Gabrielle Kerslake
Treasurer Liaison: Bronwyn Bernerius
Ordinary Committee Members: Heather Taylor, Linda Thomasson, Shelley Reid, Kylie Peach.

Minutes & Presentations

Recommended resources 

WHO and UNICEF BFHI for small, sick and preterm infants (2020)
Neo-BFHI Core Document (2015)      
Compliance with the "Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative for Neonatal Wards" in 36 countries (2018)
Marketing of breastmilk substitutes: National implementation of the International Code - Status Report 2020
Australian Breastfeeding Association website
International Lactation Consultant Association website
Lactation Consultants of Australia & New Zealand website

Neo-BFHI Steering Committee

Message to representatives from ILCA, COINN and BFHI network, 13 October 2020

Reproduced by permission

The Neo-BFHI was launched in May 2015 and has since been focus for interest world-wide. The Neo-BFHI Package has been available online at the ILCA webpage since September 2015 and as of today we have had 2,124 registrations to download the package from 102 countries. Even if the registrations have tapered down over the years, we still had 318 downloads in 2019 and 157 so far this year. 
     In August 2020, WHO and UNICEF published a new document: Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding: the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative for small, sick and preterm newborns. Geneva: World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2020. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
     The Neo-BFHI working group is acknowledged in the WHO document. The 2013 article about Neo-BFHI expanded Ten Step is cited as well as the Neo-BFHI survey from 2019. We can see in several sections of the document that the authors have been inspired by our work and we are happy for that.
     Our working group supports the new WHO document. In some of the adapted Ten Steps, the WHO document is more thorough and sets higher standards than the Neo-BFHI whereas in other Steps the Neo-BFHI proposed higher standards. However, there are no contradictions to content of the Neo-BFHI in the WHO document with the sole exception of the appraisal of sucking at an empty breast (which is not evidence based). There are no Guiding Principles in the WHO document, but the content of the Neo-BFHI Guiding Principles is mentioned in several sections.
     We think that the Neo-BFHI has contributed to raise global awareness of the need to enlarge the scope of the BFHI to preterm and sick infants and to develop specific standards and clinical guidance for the neonatal wards caring for these infants. We consider that the wide interest in the Neo-BFHI was an important factor in setting the WHO in motion to develop their new document, and as such we feel that Neo-BFHI has fulfilled its task.
     Hence, in trying to position our work in this context, we have decided that we will not promote the implementation or certification based on Neo-BFHI standards and criteria but will keep our expansion ‘alive’ as an historical landmark in the long history of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. We know that some countries (e.g. Finland and Spain) have translated the whole Neo-BFHI package and are implementing it, and we will continue to support their work. In the future, we will refer those interested in implementing best breastfeeding standards in neonatal wards to the WHO document.
     We will keep the Neo-BFHI package on the ILCA website, as this is a historic document that is cited repeated times and readers must have the possibility of finding the source. We will update the text at the website to reflect this new situation.
     The Neo-BFHI Steering Committee will now end its work and we take this opportunity to thank you all for your longstanding support.
Best regards,
Ragnhild Maastrup, Laura Haiek, Mette Ness Hansen, Leena Hannula, Aino Ezeonodo, and Elisabeth Kylberg

SIG Governance

To be updated after annual meeting on 12 October 2021

Focus and purpose

Infant feeding plays an important part in the experience of families whose infant requires admission to a neonatal unit. Successful establishment of feeding is affected by various factors, such as prematurity, neurological impairment, congenital abnormalities, surgery or maternal conditions and choices. Neonatal nurses and neonatal lactation consultants can provide care and education that optimise feeding outcomes. This SIG will recommend resources relating to infant feeding, present learning opportunities, and provide peer support and guidance.

Terms of reference

By Zoom, on the Tuesday of the second week in even months (February, April, June, August, October). A meeting will not usually be held in December. These meetings are open to any interested members.

At each annual ACNN National Conference, as a general meeting and education workshop/seminar, at the discretion of the National Executive.

Correspondence will be to the National Executive via National Secretary at

Reporting requirements
Once approved for a provisional year of operation, the SIG committee will undertake the activities specified in this application for the provisional year, as approved by the Executive. At the end of the provisional year the SIG committee will submit a full report on its achievements to the Executive, accompanied by updated terms of reference and an activity plan that complies with the ACNN strategic plan. If approved for ongoing operation, the SIG will operate on a calendar year cycle in line with established SIGs and according to the SIG policy.

Current financial members of ACNN are eligible to be members of the Infant Feeding SIG and may nominate to join the SIG by contacting the Executive Support Officer. Nurses or midwives applying for ACNN membership may nominate to be a member of the SIG on the application form. Membership of the SIG is limited to financial members.

Proposed activities for provisional year of operation 

  • Establish the SIG email address
  • Establish a page on the ACNN website and a SIG members area
  • Contribute items for each newsletter
  • Present three webinars, on topics to be decided after consulting with members, consisting of 30-minute presentations followed by question time, for maximum of one hour
  • Evaluate and select resources to be added to website for members’ information
  • Plan for the annual conference SIG meeting in Canberra 2021, including potentially partnering with the Neurodevelopmental Care SIG
  • Propose and establish scholarship guidelines related to infant feeding
  • Submit a report to the Executive at the end of the provisional year

Contact the SIG at

Updated 9 February 2024