Step Number 5

Support Breastfeeding

Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they are separated from their infants. 

Teach mom how to express breastmilk with breast pumps

Why Step 5?

Today few women in the U.S. are able to rely on generational information or have had prior exposure to breastfeeding in their families and peer groups. Your assessment and support in the postpartum period can help build a mother’s confidence and self-efficacy with infant-feeding skills and can improve the duration of exclusive breastfeeding.1  

Teach her the skills and concepts listed below before discharge from your facility:

  1. remind her of the health benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for her and baby. Assist her with developing a plan to exclusively breastfeed for about six months 
  2. how to manage common breastfeeding difficulties 
  3. how to tell if her baby is transferring milk effectively  
  4. tips on expressing and storing her breastmilk, including manual expression
  5. protecting her milk supply if separated from her baby or if she is not exclusively breastfeeding after discharge from your facility. 

Special attention should be given to high-risk mother and infant dyads to ensure expressed breastmilk or donor milk are used to help mom reach her feeding goal.2 Provide education to mothers on breast pumps such as safe use, cleaning and storage of breastmilk.

remind mom of the health benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for her and baby
Quote from an Expert

“The rate of exclusive breastfeeding during the hospital stay has been confirmed as a critical variable when measuring the quality of care provided by a medical facility.”

AAP Policy Statement, Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk, 2012. Pediatrics March 2012, 129 (3) e827-e841; DOI: 

Primary Goals of Step 5

  1. Enable the mother-baby dyad to confidently and effectively breastfeed.
  2. Assist mothers to detect and address any difficulties that may be a barrier to maintaining lactation.

Ten Step Self-Assessment

Use the Ten Step Self-Assessment to help you evaluate your progress for this step. This self- assessment document does not have to be submitted with application.

New Applicants

  • Use document checklist (PDF) to ensure appropriate support documentation is included with application.
  • If your current practice does not meet these criteria, review the Ten Step Self-Assessment to assess how your facility might fully implement this step.

View Application and Support Documents

Re-Designation Applicants

  • Review your individual Ten Step Scorecard from the last designation for change recommendations.
  • Use the Ten Step Self-Assessment Tool to help plan for step-by-step improvement in any areas needed.
  • Review the Baby Friendly USA, Inc. Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria to view full standard for this step.

Download Baby Friendly Guidelines