Hospital practices have a huge impact on a family’s infant feeding decision and the success of breastfeeding. As a healthcare provider, your role is to educate and encourage women to breastfeed and then support them in reaching their infant feeding goals.
The following are tips for breastfeeding success:
- Breastfeed within the first hour. Babies should be put skin-to-skin immediately after birth.
- Practice rooming in. Mothers and babies should be kept in the same room day and night so mothers can get to know their baby’s signs of hunger.
- Breastfeed on demand. When a baby roots, makes sucking sounds, puts fist to mouth, or is starting to wake, this is a signal that a baby is ready to be fed.
- No bottles or pacifiers. Bottles and pacifiers often interfere with breastfeeding and cause babies not to nurse frequently enough.
- Breastfeed exclusively. Providing only breast milk protects the mother’s milk supply and gives mother and baby time to learn how to breastfeed.
It is important for mothers to talk to their partner and doctor before delivery about their decision to breastfeed, so they can provide the best support possible. This handout can be provided to mothers to help her family and healthcare providers understand her ideal hospital experience and feeding goals.
- The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative
- Missouri "Show Me 5" Hospital Initiative
- The Joint Commission’s Perinatal Care Core Measure Set
with a core measure on exclusive breast milk feeding.
- Ban the Bags Initiative
- The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocols (ABM)
Medical Association Breastfeeding Position Papers:
- United States Breastfeeding Committee
- American Journal of Public Health-“Marketing Infant Formula Through Hospitals: The Impact of Commercial Hospital Discharge Packs on Breastfeeding”
- National WIC Association – “NWA National Breastfeeding Strategic Plan”
Medications and Breastfeeding:
- For information on medications that are compatible with breastfeeding go to the Infant Risk Center.