No matter where you’re giving birth, ask careful questions about the policies and procedures your birthplace has around birth and breastfeeding. Immediate skin-to-skin after birth and a policy of rooming-in (when babies stay in the room with their mothers instead of going to a nursery) can make a big difference in supporting initial breastfeeding.
These, and other evidence-based approaches to breastfeeding in hospitals, are part of the World Health Organization’s 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Hospitals and birth centers that follow all of the steps receive a “Baby-Friendly” designation. Find out if your hospital has this designation or not. If not, what do they do to support breastfeeding immediately after birth?
It’s also useful to know what to expect at your hospital if your baby needs time in the nursery or NICU — two things that can strongly affect early nursing.