Ten steps to successful breastfeeding
The "Ten steps to successful breastfeeding" were developed by WHO and UNICEF to ensure maternity services are providing the right start for every infant and the necessary support for mothers to breastfeed. Today this check-list is used by hospitals in more than 150 countries.
The ten steps for health facilities to take towards ensuring successful breastfeeding are as follows:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within half an hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
- Practise "rooming in" - allowing mothers and infants to remain together - 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand - whenever the baby is hungry.
- Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
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