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Ten Steps For Breastfeeding Success

It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and the media’s humming with breastfeeding-related stories. Not all are as buzzworthy (or, thankfully, as irritating) as Gisele’s proclamation, but my guess is most of them will do more to advance the cause of breastfeeding than suggesting not breastfeeding should be illegal. Puh-leeze.

The World Health Organization is, as always, at the forefront of breastfeeding promotion. Coinciding with World Breastfeeding Week, they’ve come up with a solid list of ten ways to encourage a successful start to breastfeeding.

The list is designed for hospitals, but it’s a must read for anyone who wants to breastfeed.

See what it takes after the jump.

The Ten Steps:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within half an hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice “rooming in”: allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand whenever the baby is hungry.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Until breastfeeding-friendly policies are instituted everywhere, it’s up to moms to understand what it takes to breastfeed and how to advocate for the best possible situation for themselves and their babies. You may not be able to control all the variables in your hospital to create the optimal situation this list demands. But the more you know about how breastfeeding works, what makes it more likely to work out, and what can interfere, the more likely you are to have a successful experience.

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