STEP 1: Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff and is in accordance with the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

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Develop a written breastfeeding/infant feeding policy that:

  • establishes breastfeeding as the standard for infant feeding is evidence-based
  • addresses each of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
  • contains specific language that protects breastfeeding by:
    • prohibiting the promotion and group instruction of formula feeding, use of bottles and/or pacifiers
    • referencing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
  • prohibits distribution of gift packs with commercial samples, coupons, or other materials that promote use of formula, bottles and/or pacifiers to pregnant women and new mothers

Communicate and make breastfeeding policy readily available to all health care staff that care for mothers and babies in the prenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal setting including obstetricians, nurse midwives, pediatricians, family physicians, nurses, and medical assistants.

Ensure that health care staff members refer to the breastfeeding policy when needed.

Display a summary of the hospital's breastfeeding policy in all areas of the health care facility that serve mothers, infants, and/or children and ensure that this summary:

  • refers to the Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding
  • refers to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
  • is written with wording / language most commonly understood by mothers and staff

Ensure a mechanism is in place for evaluating the effectiveness of the breastfeeding/infant feeding policy.

Review all institutional policies and protocols related to breastfeeding and infant feeding including all policies related to the care of childbearing women and children, and ensure that policies:

  • are in line with current evidence-based standards
  • have language that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding
  • are communicated to all current and new health care staff

Adapted from materials developed by Baby-Friendly USA with their permission