WHO/Unicef have produced a ten step guide to successful breastfeeding as part of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. They are a useful guide to follow both in the hospital and community setting to ensure that patients receive care in as conducive an environment to successful breastfeeding as possible.

Critical management procedures

1a. Comply fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.

1b. Have a written infant feeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff and parents.

1c. Establish ongoing monitoring and data-management systems.

2. Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding.

Key clinical practices

3. Discuss the importance and management of breastfeeding with pregnant women and their families.

4. Facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth.

5. Support mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding and manage common difficulties.

6. Do not provide breastfed newborns any food or fluids other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.

7. Enable mothers and their infants to remain together and to practise rooming-in 24 hours a day.

8. Support mothers to recognize and respond to their infants’ cues for feeding.

9. Counsel mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, teats and pacifiers.

10. Coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.

You can download a copy of the WHO ten steps to successful breastfeeding poster for your clinical setting here


More information on the WHO ten steps to successful breastfeeding is available on the WHO/Unicef website.


The full implementation guidance for the baby friendly hospitals initiative is available at the link above.