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.
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- 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).
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand. (Teach mothers cue-based feeding regardless of feeding method).
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- 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.