All facilities are encouraged to coordinate services with other community programs that provide counseling and education on breastfeeding. Some facilities have developed processes that begin coordinated services in the inpatient postpartum hospitalization. While these services offer many benefits to families, hospitals should coordinate efforts so as to minimize interruptions to mothers during the hospital stay. This will allow maximum opportunity for mothers to recover from birth, bond with their babies and learn their feeding cues. Outside agencies interacting with mothers in the hospital setting should have sufficient training to support exclusive breastfeeding. Procedures should be established between the facility and the outside agency as to how the outside agency should respond and support the breastfeeding mother who requests formula from them while in the hospital setting. Compliance with the International Code is essential in protecting mothers who are still making decisions about infant feeding.
Specifically, BFUSA applauds the work of WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors/Breastfeeding Educators and views their breastfeeding counseling visits with postpartum mothers in compliance with the BFUSA Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria. BFUSA is agreeable to WIC staff scheduling the initial, post-discharge WIC appointment during the postpartum hospital visit but recommends that further WIC processes be completed after the mother is discharged from the facility. It is important that mothers and infants have uninterrupted time for bonding, breastfeeding, and recovery. In addition, the distribution of infant formula and/or other WIC infant food benefits (vouchers or eWIC cards) at the mother’s bedside or during her hospital stay does not align with the BFUSA Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria.