Breastfeeding and Health Care
Hospital practices have a huge impact on a family’s infant feeding decision and the success of breastfeeding. As a health care 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.
This handout can be provided to a mother to help her family and health care providers understand her ideal hospital experience and feeding goals.