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WHO Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

July 2018

Beginning in August with the event of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month for numerous countries around the globe, we will be taking a much closer look at the World Health Organization's Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (revised 2018). Each month will be dedicated to one step, with posts on resources, references, and information that will help you to implement that step into your birthing facility's journey toward BFHI designation.

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Various countries may have slight differences in individual steps but are still in keeping with the WHO Ten Steps. If you have questions about your particular country, please feel free to contact me. I will be listing links to various country Ten Step pages for you to access as needed.

To begin, let's look at the WHO Ten Steps in their newly revised format:

1)  a. Comply fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.

     b. Have a written infant feeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff and parents.

     c. Establish ongoing monitoring and data-management systems.

2)   Ensure that staff has sufficient knowledge, competence, and skills to support breastfeeding.

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 with any food or fluids other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.

7)   Enable mothers and their infants to remain together and to practice 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.

"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,” (WHO, 2018).

On the WHO website, there are free downloadable posters covering all Ten Steps as well as each individual step. http://www.who.int/nutrition/bfhi/infographics/en/

Here's hoping your journey to BFHI designation is a successful one.

Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA

Professional Development Educator

 

References:

World Health Organization. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/nutrition/bfhi/ten-steps/en/ on July 15, 2018.

 

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