Breastfeeding brings a wide array of benefits to the baby’s development, such as strengthening bonds between mother and child, improving health and the immune system, and there are even studies linking it to a boost in babies’ intelligence.

These are a few of the reasons that make exclusive breastfeeding recommended by the World Health Organization until the baby is six months old.

As a way to encourage and reinforce the importance of breastfeeding, WHO released, in 1991, together with Unicef, a guide entitled 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

These orientations are focused on hospital and maternity clinics’ professionals – people that play an essential role in encouraging the act. Recently, the guide went through a rework, thus including important steps to make hospitals “child friendly”.

Below you can read the entire updated list:

Critical management procedures

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.

Key clinical practices

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 practise 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.

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