Establishing a Breastfeeding-Friendly Practice

Below are some examples of recommendations from the ABM Protocol #14 that you can implement to support breastfeeding mothers in your practice:

  • Establish a written breastfeeding-friendly office policy.
  • Offer culturally and ethnically competent care.
  • Show support for breastfeeding during hospital rounds.
  • Counsel mothers to follow their infant’s states of alertness as they relate to hunger and satiety cues and ensure that the infant breastfeeds eight to 12 times in 24 hours.
  • Encourage breastfeeding mothers to feed newborns only human milk and to avoid offering supplemental formula, glucose water, or other liquids unless medically indicated.
  • Advise the mother not to offer a bottle or a pacifier/dummy until breastfeeding is well established.
  • Schedule a first infant follow-up visit 48-72 hours after hospital discharge or earlier if breastfeeding-related problems, such as jaundice or excessive weight loss are present at the time of hospital discharge (mean weight loss is 5-7%, threshold for ‘excessive’ varies but more often is >10%)
  • Ensure there is access to a lactation consultant/educator or other healthcare professional trained to address breastfeeding questions or concerns.
  • Ensure availability of appropriate educational resources for parents.
  • Allow and encourage breastfeeding in the waiting room.
  • Ensure an office environment that demonstrates breastfeeding promotion and support.
  • Eliminate the practice of distribution of free formula and baby items from formula companies to parents.
  • Develop and follow telephone triage protocols to address breastfeeding concerns and problems.
  • Commend breastfeeding mothers during each visit for choosing and continuing breastfeeding.
  • Encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and to continue breastfeeding with complementary foods until at least 24 months and thereafter as long as mutually desired.
  • Discuss the introduction of solid food at 6 months of age.
  • Acquire or maintain a list of community resources (for example, breast pump rental locations) and be knowledgeable about referral procedures.
  • Refer expectant and new parents to peer, community support, and resource groups. Identify local breastfeeding specialists, know their background and training, and develop working relationships for additional assistance.
  • Support local breastfeeding support groups.

ABM Clinical Protocol

AMB Clinical Protocol #14