Skip Navigation LinksAttheHospital

Women, Infants & Children (WIC)

Healthcare Providers

Breastfeeding - At the Hospital

Healthcare Providers provide leadership in breastfeeding support from delivery through discharge.

Immediately after delivery:

  • All mothers should be given their infants to hold with uninterrupted and continuous skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and until the completion of the first feeding, unless there are documented medically justifiable reasons for delayed contact or interruption.
  • Routine procedures (e.g. assessments, Apgar scores, etc.) should be done with the infant skin-to-skin with the mother. Procedures requiring separation of the mother and infant, (bathing, for example) should be delayed until after this initial period of skin-to-skin contact and should be conducted, whenever feasible, at the mother's bedside.
  • Skin-to-skin contact should be encouraged throughout the hospital stay. If mother and infant are separated for documented medical reasons, skin-to-skin contact should be initiated as soon as mother and infant are reunited.

Optimize breastfeeding by:

  • Encouraging rooming-in to support on-demand feeds. Inform the mother that unrestricted, frequent feedings will help baby learn how to breastfeed and improve milk supply.
  • Assessing the mother's breastfeeding techniques and, if needed, demonstrating appropriate breastfeeding positioning and attachment with the mother and infant, optimally within 3 hours and no later than 6 hours after birth.
  • Encouraging exclusive breastfeeding with no bottles and no supplementation unless there is a true contraindication.
  • Scheduling maternal procedures after breastfeeding or arranging the use of hospital electric pump prior to procedure if the mother will be away from baby for more than 2 hours.
  • Scheduling routine pediatric care and breastfeeding follow-up visit on day 3 to 5 of life.
  • Educating mothers on basic breastfeeding practices including:

    1. The importance of exclusive breastfeeding

    2. How to maintain lactation for exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months

    3. Criteria to assess if the infant is getting enough breast milk, including signs of milk transfer, urine and stool output, and growth

    4. How to express, handle, and store breast milk, including manual expression

    5. How to sustain lactation if the mother is separated from her infant and will not be exclusively breastfeeding after discharge

Education as the mother prepares to go home:

Page Last Updated :