Sunday, August 1, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week - 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

Welcome to World Breastfeeding Week 2010!  Lots of people are talking about it but are you like me and wondering what is it actually all about?  I don't like not having the answers so I did some research and here's what I found out.

This year, the objective for World Breastfeeding Week is to highlight the theme “Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps. The Baby-Friendly Way”  which is the foundation for the WHO and UNICEF's Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) to encourage hospitals, health care facilities, and particularly maternity wards, to adopt practices that fully protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding from birth.  

So what are the ten steps?

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

Every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should:
  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant mothers about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers 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 breastmilk 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.
You can see videos for each step on the WBW site here

According to La Leche League New Zealand, over 90% of New Zealand's maternity units are Baby Friendly and as a result almost 90% of babies are exclusively breastfed when discharged.  This rate drops dramatically to 51% of all babies at six weeks, 39 percent at three months and 14% at six months. *

It seems that while recent Government promotion of the benefits of breastfeeding is working, if mothers don't get adequate support once at home with their babies, the chances of continued breastfeeding success does diminish.

Lisa Manning, spokesperson for LLLNZ says "Widespread promotion of breastfeeding without timely and sufficient support leads to breastfeeding ending prematurely and to upset and disillusioned mothers, who may take their anger out on breastfeeding advocates."

Does it ever!  A recent CampbellLive story had mothers doing exactly that for exactly those reasons.

What do you think of the 10 steps?  Do you think your maternity hospital or birthing unit followed the steps successfully?

More importantly is enough being done about Step 10?  Do we need more support once mums are at home or do you think the support is there if you look for it?

*LLLNZ press release 28 July

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think in most cases the support is there if you want it. I just think that alot of Mum's do not ask for enough help in the early stages while in hospital.

When in hospital with my 1st it took me a few days before I could successfully attach bub myself and i said I would not go home until I achieved that. So that meant buzzing the midwives all hours of the day and night each time I fed bub to get them to assist with attachment. Breast feeding is what I wanted to do, so I knew I had to ask for help and continue asking for help.

Once home however, things were not as great, suffering mastitis at the one week mark, having terribly damaged nipples and suffering for weeks with teh worst baby blues and pain (possibly borderline pnd).
The last thing I wanted to do once home was venture out in order to gain some breast feeding support. I did go to the clinic once or twice but that was it.

So once home, things change totally. I didn't know at the time that you could get a private LC to come to your home at a cost.

I still managed to breastfeed for 7 months though (stopped due to ongoing mastitis) and i am proud of that.

Second time around bub wasn't even interested in feeding so the midwives had to hand express colostrum to feed him.
Once he was attaching I did need some assistance a few times but from there things were great.

I put second time round success down to simply having done it before and knowing what worked and didn't work the first time.

Before I stop rambling I will say, there needs to be a massive increase in education on breastfeeding. Talking to different people I know some don't realise what is involved, how long it can take to breastfeed a newborn, how the breast 'works' etc. And some give up because of this.

We have gone past the 6 month mark this time and hopefully will reach the 12 month mark before weaning (that is my goal).


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