Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding


At UMC Health System, we use care practices that improve the health of both mothers and babies. One of these care practices is ensuring mothers leave UMC Family Birth Center confident in their breastfeeding abilities. This facility upholds the World Health Organization/UNICEF Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly USA Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria.

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

Every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should:

1A. Comply fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.
1B. Have a written infant feeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff and parents.
1C. Establish ongoing monitoring and data-management systems.
2. Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding.
3. Discuss the importance and management of breastfeeding with pregnant women and their families.
4. Facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth.
5. Support mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding and manage common difficulties.
6. Do not provide breastfed newborns any food or fluids other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
7. Enable mothers and their infants to remain together and to practice rooming-in 24 hours a day.
8. Support mothers to recognize and respond to their infants’ cues for feeding.
9. Counsel mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, teats and pacifiers.
10. Coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding form the basis of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a worldwide breastfeeding quality improvement project created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers also uphold the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes by offering parents support, education, and educational materials that promote the use of human milk rather than other infant food or drinks, and by refusing to accept or distribute free or subsidized supplies of breast milk substitutes, nipples, and other feeding devices.

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