Step 3 Standards
- Before 34 weeks of pregnancy all pregnant women should receive full and clear information about the health benefits of breastfeeding and the importance of:
- keeping their baby close
- avoiding supplements and teats
- feeding when their baby shows signs of wanting to feed
- effective positioning and attachment
- skin contact after delivery.
- All written materials intended for pregnant women should be accurate and effective, and free from the promotion of breastmilk substitutes, bottles, teats and dummies.
- Antenatal parent education classes (where these are provided) should provide good quality and effective information to supplement that provided during one to one discussion. Routine antenatal group education should not include instruction in how to prepare a bottle of infant formula.
NB: Information about health benefits should include evidence-based information on the specific protection from illnesses to mother and baby, but does not need to include ‘common knowledge’ benefits such as better for baby, the right temperature, cheaper, antibodies, etc.
Routine demonstration of how to make up bottles of formula milk as part of antenatal classes normalises bottle feeding and conveys the message that health professionals do not expect mothers to breastfeed successfully. It is also unlikely to be useful even for women who intend to bottle feed, as such information will be difficult to retain fully until after the baby is born. Therefore it should not form part of group antenatal classes.
It is important to note that this standard is not intended to deny women information or to undermine safety. Other impartial information on formula milk can be given in antenatal classes. It is also expected that all postnatal mothers who have chosen to bottle feed will be shown how to make up a bottle correctly before discharge from hospital, and that community staff will check to ensure that mothers have received and understood this information.
Step 3 Assessment
Requirements at Stage 1:
- The written minimum standard of information provided to all pregnant women.
- A description of how, where and when all pregnant women are to be informed of the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- An outline of antenatal parent education (where this exists)
- Written information intended for pregnant women must be accurate and effective, and free from the advertising of breastmilk substitutes, bottles, teats and dummies.
NB: The written minimum standard of information is a list of the topics discussed with all pregnant women. Most trusts choose to have an antenatal infant-feeding checklist kept in pregnant women’s hand-held records. This provides staff with a reminder of what to discuss and a space to sign when the discussion has taken place.
Requirements at Stage 3:
- Pregnant women over 34 weeks gestation to confirm that the health benefits and management of breastfeeding have been discussed with them.
- Pregnant women over 34 weeks gestation to recall at least two health benefits of breastfeeding and basic information about at least two management topics.
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