Scientific evidence is clear and indisputable: Breastfeeding is best for baby. Period.
The more we learn about breastfed babies vs. formula-fed babies, the more we see that every single drop of breastmilk a baby gets is beneficial in ways formula never can be. Plus, immunologic evidence shows that the probiotics and antibodies specific to mother’s milk makes all the difference in the baby’s gut health and general physical well-being – providing invaluable benefits throughout its child and adult life.
Then, when you take into consideration developmental and bonding benefits – it’s easy to see why UNICEF and WHO (the World Health Organization) have come together, issuing a joint press release. The press release requests that hospitals worldwide implement a 10-step breastfeeding initiative, making it easier for mothers and babies to get the support they need to become successful breastfeeding partners.
10 New Steps For Breastfeeding Success
These 10 breastfeeding steps are:
- Comply fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breastfeeding Substitutes and other, relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions, and to have a clearly written breastfeeding policy that is communicated to all staff and parents.
- Make sure that all labor and delivery staff are well-educated and adequately
trained to provide continuous breastfeeding support to mothers and their newborn babies.
- Discuss the importance of breastmilk, and breastfeeding, to pregnant women and their families. Partners, children, parents, extended family – all should help support the new mother.
- Staff should facilitate skin-to-skin contact between mother ASAP after the baby is born, and support the mother in initiating breastfeeding as immediately as possible.
- Support mother in initiating breastfeeding and provide continuous support as needed as they manage common difficulties.
- Do not provide breastfed newborns any food or other liquids other than breastmilk, unless it’s medically necessary.
- Allow mothers and infants to room together, and to practice rooming-in, 24-hours a day.
- Support mothers in recognizing and responding to their infant’s feeding cues (UNICEF, WHO, midwives and contemporary labor and delivery teams know infant-led feedings– rather than timed schedules – are best for both mother and baby).
- Educate mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, nipples and pacifiers.
- Organize hospital or birthing center discharge so mothers and infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.
According to the release:
There is substantial evidence that implementing the Ten Steps significantly improves breastfeeding rates. A systematic review of 58 studies on maternity and newborn care published in 2016 demonstrated clearly that adherence to the Ten Steps impacts early initiation of breastfeeding immediately after birth, exclusive breastfeeding and total duration of breastfeeding.
We are so excited to read about this newest release because the Number 1 reason most women stop breastfeeding boils down to inadequate support.
Pain, discomfort, failure to latch – all of these and other challenges are almost always able to be turned around with the help of a caring doctor, nurse, lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist (like the leaders and mothers in your local La Leche League or similar support group).
Are you looking for a team of OB/GYNS and Midwives who provide expert prenatal and labor/delivery care – as well as extended support. Reach out to us here at Overlake.