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Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies


First Steps for Healthy Babies

Recognizing Ohio Hospitals for taking the first step

Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies

The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association launched Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies to encourage hospitals to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.


How Does it Work?

  • Hospitals are awarded based on a five-tier system—receiving an award for every two steps achieved.
  • Program steps are based on a 10-step list adopted from the World Health Organization and Baby-Friendly USA’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
  • Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
  • Hospitals are free to choose the order of steps to adopt.

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

Contact  Information:






Why Join?

Why Join Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies?

  • Elevates hospital status as a leader in quality maternal and infant care.
  • Access to free staff training and resources.
  • The program is completely voluntary—hospitals are free to complete the program steps in any order they choose. 
  • No application or penalty fees.
  • Official recognition from the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association.
  • Supports Ohio’s Healthy People 2020 goals.
  • Aligns with Ohio’s Plan to Prevent and Reduce Chronic Disease: 2014-2018.



Skin-to-Skin Training

The Ohio Department of Health partnered with University of Louisville Center for Women and Infants at the University of Louisville Hospital to unite obstetrical healthcare staff at the Ohio birthing hospitals to implement Kangaroo Care as a standard of care in the delivery rooms and postpartum areas for the purposes of increasing breastfeeding rates. Each hospital that attended received a “Jumping into Kangaroo Care” tool-kit comprised of professional training DVD, a patient education DVD and a CD-ROM with support materials. Overall,

  • 19 one-day train-the-trainer workshops were offered 
  • 92 birthing hospitals across Ohio attended
  • 391 hospital staff were trained
  • 193 toolkits were distributed 

Participating hospitals are collecting data monthly, for one year, on their Kangaroo Care and breastfeeding rates




Below you will find information regarding the application process.

Application Deadline 
(must be received by midnight)

   Award Notification
   (to hospitals) 

 Quarter 1: January 1     February 15
 Quarter 2: April 1     May 15
 Quarter 3: July 1     August 15
 Quarter 4: October 1     November 15

For more application information, please visit https://ohiohospitals.org/ohiofirststeps



Recognized Hospitals

First Steps for Healthy Babies Recognized Hospitals

Best Practice Award

The Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies, in partnership with the Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance and the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association recognizes hospitals for being “Bag Free.” This Maternity Care Best Practice Award recognizes hospitals for removal of free infant formula samples and formula company branded diaper bags and goods. This supports hospitals in progress towards practices that align with "Baby-Friendly USA" certification requirements, as well as the overall goal of reducing infant mortality in Ohio.


Resource Guide

First Steps for Healthy Babies Resource Guide

Educational Webinars

The Ohio First Steps for Healthy Babies offers training opportunities to support best practices in promoting breastfeeding initiation and duration.


Please visit www.ohiohospitals.org/ohiofirststeps to view the recordings.