Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario



August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week

Breastfeeding is the optimal feeding practice and physiological norm for newborns, infants, and young children. Exclusive breastfeeding to six months—during which an infant receives no other liquids or solids, except vitamin drops or syrups, mineral supplements, or prescribed medicines—is the most favourable infant feeding practice to promote healthy outcomes. Breastfeeding also supports the parental relationship with the newborn, infant, and young child, including bonding and attachment.

Nurses, other health-care providers (such as physicians, midwives, lactation consultants, social workers and dieticians), and peer supporters with breastfeeding experience play an essential role in breastfeeding – through the stages of initiation, exclusivity, and continuation.

The implementation of research to support best practices plays an integral role in supporting individuals and their families to reach their breastfeeding goals.

RNAO's 2018 revised Best Practice Guideline (BPG) Promoting and Supporting the Initiation, Exclusivity, and Continuation of Breastfeeding for Newborns, Infants, and Young Children is a tool to support breastfeeding. It is meant to be used by nurses, other health-care providers, and peers during pregnancy and postpartum to support:

  1. Breastfeeding initiation
  2. Exclusivity for newborns and infants to six months of age
  3. Continuation for infants and young children to two years or longer, in addition to complementary feeding

This BPG summarizes current studies on breastfeeding to determine the most effective strategies to:

  1. Support persons who breastfeed and their families
  2. Educate nurses, other health-care providers and peer supporters in breastfeeding knowledge and skills
  3. Create structures within community and health-care organizations to maximize breastfeeding outcomes

A link to the guideline can be found here.