The Ten Steps

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are a bundle of internationally recognized, evidence-based maternity care practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration. The Gift and The Gift Shining Star designations are based on implementation of these Ten Steps.

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth. (Place babies in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately following birth for at least an hour and encourage mothers to recognize when their babies are ready to breastfeed, offering help if needed).
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give 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. (Teach mothers cue-based feeding regardless of feeding method).
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

The Gift encourages continued progress toward pursuit of Baby-Friendly™ designation. Baby-Friendly™ designated hospitals and birthing facilities must adhere to the Ten Steps to receive, and retain Baby-Friendly™ designation.

The Gift One Pager

The Gift Fact Sheet