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Breastfeeding Initiative

Breastfeeding Model Hospital Policy Recommendations, 2005

The Breastfeeding Model Hospital Policies is under revision to be consistent with changes to becoming a Baby-Friendly facility 

Based on the Providing Breastfeeding Support: Model Hospital Policy Recommendations (PDF), the online toolkit provides additional references as well as resources and web links to assist hospitals in addressing its policies. These are designed to give basic information and guidance to prenatal professionals who wish to revise policies that affect the breastfeeding mother. Rationale and references are included as education for those unfamiliar with current breastfeeding recommendations. When no reference is available, the interventions recommended are considered to be best practice as determined by consensus of the Inland Empire Breastfeeding Coalition .

Individual Model Hospital Policy Recommendations
  1. Hospitals should promote and support breastfeeding.
  2. Nurses, certified nurse midwives, physicians and other health professionals with expertise regarding the benefits and management of breastfeeding should educate pregnant and postpartum women when the opportunity for education exists, for example, during prenatal classes, in clinical settings, and at discharge teaching.
  3. The hospital will encourage medical staff to perform a breast exam on all pregnant women and provide anticipatory guidance for conditions that could affect breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mothers will have an assessment of the breast prior to discharge and will receive anticipatory guidance regarding conditions that might affect breastfeeding.
  4. Hospital prenatal staff should support the mother’s choice to breastfeed and encourage exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months.
  5. Nurses, certified nurse midwives, and physicians should encourage new mothers to hold their newborns skin to skin during the first two hours following birth and as much as possible thereafter, unless contraindicated.
  6. Mothers and infants should be assessed for effective breastfeeding. Mothers should be offered instruction in breastfeeding as indicated.
  7. Artificial nipples and pacifiers should be discouraged for healthy, breastfeeding infants.
  8. Sterile water, glucose water, and artificial milk should not be given to a brealastfeeding infant without the mother’s informed consent and/or physician’s specific order.
  9. Mothers and infants should be encouraged to remain together during the hospital stay.
  10. At discharge, mothers should be given information regarding community resources for breastfeeding support.
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