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In: Proceedings of the Interagency Workshop on Health Care Practices Related to Breastfeeding, December 7-9, 1988, Leavey Conference Center, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., edited by Miriam Labbok and Margaret McDonald with Mark Belsey, Peter Greaves, Ted Greiner, Margaret Kyenkya-Isabirye, Chloe O'Gara, James Shelton. [Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Medical Center, Institute for International Studies in Natural Family Planning, 1988]. 7 p.. (USAID Contract No. DPE-3040-A-00-5064-00)Breastfeeding is on the decline in most countries, despite the fact it can help prevent the 38,000 daily deaths of infants and young children through its nutritional, immunologic, and sanitary aspects. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) have combined to issue guidelines on the role of maternity services in promoting breastfeeding. In the most developed countries, breastfeeding has increased despite generally unsupportive hospital environments, the availability of clean water, and the fact that breastfeeding was virtually a lost practice in these countries 40 years ago. An increased awareness of the benefits, some of which are outlined, coupled with mother-to-mother support are most likely to have influenced this increase. The guidelines developed by WHO/UNICEF seek to put into practice specific recommendations agreed upon by pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists, nutritionists, nurses, midwives, and other health care providers in national and international forums. The main points of the guidelines are as follows: every facility providing maternity services should develop a policy on breastfeeding, communicate it to all staff, define specific practices to implement the policy, and ensure that all staff are adequately trained in the skills necessary to ensure implementation of the policy; facilities for 24-hour rooming-in, initiation of breastfeeding immediately after delivery, and demand-feeding are essential in every maternity ward; every pregnant mother should be informed fully about how breast milk is formed, the proper way to nurse a child, and the benefits of breastfeeding; and harmful practices, such as the use of bottles and teats for newborn infants, should be eliminated during this early period and exclusive breastfeeding maintained for at least 4-6 months from birth. These activities, when fully implemented, will ensure that every mother/infant couple reached prenatally, at birth, and postnatally gets off to a good start. Then, other support services will be more effective. These standards have been successful in the field and have had a positive impact on the rates of breastfeeding. A need exists for collaboration and an interdisciplinary approach to the promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding, and, hopefully, this workshop is the first of a series of technical consultations.