10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
Most women are able to breastfeed their babies without physical or medical issues preventing them. However, many women feel discouraged from breastfeeding due to a lack of knowledge, judgment from friends and family, and how breastfeeding is portrayed in the media.
The World Health Organization created a ten-step process to successful breastfeeding which has shown that it increases successful breastfeeding rates significantly.
1. Infant Feeding Policy
Our midwives are passionate about breastfeeding. We recommend that babies receive only breastmilk for the first six months of life, then offer food complementary to breastmilk. For the first year, breastmilk should be the baby's primary source of nutrition. Food should not be a replacement for breastfeeding. The mother and baby can continue to breastfeed for as long as it works for them.
2. Staff Knowledge
Our midwives are trained in the skills to promote breastfeeding and can assist mothers with common breastfeeding challenges. They are committed to providing support to nursing mothers.
3. Prenatal Support
During pregnancy, midwives will meet with the mother to discuss the importance of breastfeeding and how to successfully breastfeed.
4. Kangaroo Care
We allow for plenty of skin-to-skin contact between the mother and her baby as well as help the mother to initiate breastfeeding within an hour after birth.
Skin-to-skin contact remains important for the baby and their parents as it helps to create a strong attachment and fosters self-regulation.
5. Support for Mothers
Birth staff will assess that the baby has a good latch, is positioned well, and help mothers with common breastfeeding challenges.
6. Supplement Options
When medically necessary, supplements are available such as human donor breastmilk and formula. Birth staff will instruct parents on how to give formula to their baby safely including sanitizing bottles, correct measurements, and how to pace feed.
We encourage mothers and babies o be kept with each other to bond and respond to their baby's hunger cues quickly.
8. Responsive Nursing
Our midwives will counsel mothers on normal hunger cues and encourage breastfeeding on demand. Hunger cues can look like-
- Sucking on hands
- Fussing and crying
Crying is usually a baby's last resort and once they have started getting fussy, it can be difficult to calm them enough to get them latched on. Recognizing early hunger cues will be more helpful in the long run.
9. Counseling on Bottles and Pacifiers
While sucking may be an instinctive response for babies, getting the right latch is learned. In the early days of breastfeeding, it's important to hold off on offering a bottle or pacifier for as long as possible as they may cause nipple confusion. Suckling on a breast has different mechanics than sucking on a pacifier or from a bottle. Another risk of offering an artificial nipple or pacifier is to the milk supply. Babies may start taking a pacifier in place of feedings causing the mother to lose her supply.
10. Community Support
We will refer breastfeeding mothers to ongoing breastfeeding support within the community, such as La Leche League. Our midwives can also provide nursing mothers with a list of book recommendations to help troubleshoot breastfeeding issues.
For more information on breastfeeding, contact our midwives today!