As we continue to look at the evidence and recommendations for the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, this post will center on early skin-to-skin contact. Upon these discussions, we will continue to build an evidence-based foundation for our work on the BFHI designation. Revisions to the Ten Step document have been released for the United States and are currently being completed for the remaining global community. You will find the link to the full document below.
“The evidence that formed the recommendations on immediate support for breastfeeding women and their babies is based on nine systematic reviews from the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group, Cochrane Neonatal Review Group ad independent authors,” ¹ The review comparing immediate (within 10 minutes of birth) and early (10 minutes to 23 hours after birth) skin-to-skin (SSC) contact included 46 trials with 3850 mother-infant dyads. The results showed that both immediate and early SSC:
• Probably improves exclusive breastfeeding at hospital discharge to one month of age.
• May improve exclusive breastfeeding at 6 weeks to 6 months of age.
• Probably improves any breastfeeding at 1-4 months of age.
Among 3042 low-birth-weight infants who could tolerate early SSC, exclusive and any breastfeeding was “probably improved at discharge or 40-41 weeks’ postmenstrual age” ¹.
The details of the systematic reviews can be found in Annex 2 of the document. The link below will allow you to download, free of charge, the entire document.
Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA CHC
Professional Development Educator
1. Protecting, promoting and supporting Breastfeeding in Facilities providing maternity and newborn services. (2017). World Health Organization https://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/guidelines/breastfeeding-facilities-maternity-newborn/en/
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Last Updated: September 2018