You may have heard the term “Baby-Friendly Hospital or Birth Center”. Baby-friendly facilities recieve this designation after meeting the requirements set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
The Ten Steps to 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 skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-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.
- Practice rooming in: Allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- 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.
Take the extra step and find out here if the hospital or birth center that you plan to give birth is baby friendly. It can really make a difference in breastfeeding success.