Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

The Baby-Friendly™ Hospital Initiative (BFHI) directs health care facilities to meet the following ten steps to successful promotion of breastfeeding:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers to initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming-in, allow mothers and infants to remain together 24-hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
  11.