Booby Traps Series: Our checklist for avoiding the Booby Traps in the hospital.

This is the 46th post in a series on Booby Traps, made possible by the generous support of Motherlove Herbal Company.

I’ve been writing for several months about Booby Traps moms experience in the hospital.  To wrap up this section, I’ve compiled a checklist to help you avoid these Booby Traps.  I wrote a similar checklist for avoiding prenatal Booby Traps.

This list is based on a lot of research drawing connections between specific hospital practices and breastfeeding outcomes.  Of course, if you are lucky to be near one of the only 4% of U.S. hospitals or maternity centers that have achieved Baby-Friendly Hospital designation (BFHI), you can rest assured that proper protocol to help moms and babies is already being followed.  For the rest of you, we hope it’ll help you have a Booby Trap-free hospital stay!

To avoid the Booby Traps, make it clear that you want to:

Hold your baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth, whether you birth vaginally or by cesarean section (including in the operating room), and allow the baby sufficient time to self-attach to the breast if possible.

Delay umbilical cord clamping until after it stops pulsating.

– Not have your baby suctioned unless medically necessary.

– Initiate breastfeeding in the first hour (during immediate post-birth skin-to-skin session, if possible).

– Delay all newborn procedures until after the first feeding, and that you would like to have them done while you hold the baby.

– Room in with your baby, and not have your baby taken to the nursery unless medically necessary.

– Not have your baby supplemented with formula unless medically necessary, and that it must be approved by you or your partner.

Delay your baby’s bath in favor of breastfeeding and skin-to-skin time during at least the first day.

Not have your baby given a pacifier or bottle, whether you’re separated or not.

Not have your baby screened for low blood sugar unless medically necessary.

– Get expert help with latch and positioning from staff who have current and regularly updated training in breastfeeding, in order to minimize inconsistent advice.

– Have access to an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

– For preterm and sick babies, to avoid the many Booby Traps found in the NICU.

– For twins (or more), to avoid the many Booby Traps faced by moms of multiples.

– To be treated as an individual, and be held to the same standard as women of any race or ageTo have your cultural customs respected.

Limit staff and visitors to a number that allows you to focus on your baby and getting breastfeeding off to a good start.  Bring a sign to hang on your door.

Not be given a formula “gift bag” when you leave the hospital.

Get referrals to breastfeeding support resources in your community.

If this seems like a lot for mothers to do, consider asking your local breastfeeding support groups, breastfeeding coalitions, and mom groups to help you ask your hospital to begin the process of becoming a Baby-Friendly Designated Hospital.   You and your baby deserve to have proper breastfeeding protocol be the standard of care!

Did you follow a checklist like this?  Any suggestions for improving it?







9 thoughts on “Booby Traps Series: Our checklist for avoiding the Booby Traps in the hospital.

  1. Fantastic list! I wish we lived in a culture where mothers didn’t have to fight for these things themselves, but rather they were institutional policies. One reason that I am a big for of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.


  2. Even in a “baby friendly” hospital that meets most of the items on your checklist, it is common for doctors to prescribe supplementation due to baby’s weight loss or jaundice and this creates further complications with milk supply and breastfeeding. So to this list I would add: Should supplementation be necessary, request to use a breastpump to express colostrum after feedings so that can be used in lieu of formula. (This will minimize milk supply problems) AND give formula or expressed milk through a syringe into the corner of baby’s mouth while baby is latched at the breast, instead of through a bottle. (This will minimize nipple confusion problems).


  3. I recommend that all mothers learn how to self express their own milk esspecially during the colostrum period. Pumping your colostrum can be very decieving because the colostrum gets stuck to the side falnges and leaves moms with the impression that they do not have enough milk. Hand expression into a spoon to colectect that first milk is my recomendation. Use an electrical pump once milk has increased in volume, ussually about 2-5 days after birth.


  4. From my experience as an IBCLC in a hospital, I think it is important for parents to understand what “medically necessary” means. Unfortunately, it does not necessarily mean “because my RN and/or my MD say so,” but rather “because scientific evidence supports the prudent healthcare provider making this medical decision.” The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine provides online protocols for addressing medical issues within the paradigm of breastfeeding, including one on Supplementation. Furthermore, it is of critical importance that parents familiarize themselves with the hypoglycemia & jaundice, understanding when it is advised that the doctor treat & how it is recommended that treatment is accomplished. Both the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, as well as the American Academy of Pediatricians provide recommendations on these. Breastfeeding is not a privilege, it is a right.


    1. Hi Rachel,

      Great points! I think that moms assume that if a provider says that something’s necessary they’re basing the recommendation on evidence. But unfortunately that’s not always so.

      I did discuss the ABM protocols quite a bit in posts on supplementation, hypoglycemia, and jaundice:




  5. Once out of hospital look for a International Board Certified Lactation Specialist , if things are not going well. The IBCLC web site has a list of IBCLC Lactation specialist in the area that you live in.


  6. Wow. I’m impressed with the hospital I gave birth to with my daughter in early 2012. They encouraged skin to skin and gave me ample time to feed her after the delivery. They also encouraged for the baby to stay with me in my room. I was visited several times a day by lactation consultants. At one point I questioned supplementing my daughter with formula and they kept advising me against it. The take home bag had no formula samples. Kudos to Celebration Hospital in Florida!


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