Menu ENN Search

Operational Guidance on Breastfeeding Counselling in Emergencies

Author: ENN, IFE Core Group
Year: 2021
Resource type: Field tool

Background

Scope and purpose

In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) published Counselling of Women to Improve Breastfeeding Practices, a guideline with recommendations and best practice statements for breastfeeding counselling.The guidelines are complemented by the WHO and UNICEF (2021) Implementation Guidance on Counselling to Improve Breastfeeding Practices (IG-BFC) which explains how to execute the recommendations in practice. Due to the particular complexities of operating in emergencies, the need for specific and separate guidance was identified in a WHO-convened meeting in November 2019.

This Operational Guidance on Breastfeeding Counselling in Emergencies (OG-BFC/E) is a pragmatic guide which covers key considerations and potential adaptations when applying WHO’s 2018 guidelines in an emergency setting. This guidance is intended to be used by policymakers and other decision makers and programmers working in emergencies (both local/national emergencies and humanitarian emergencies) including governments, United Nations (UN) agencies, national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as donors, volunteer groups and providers of care to pregnant women and families with infants and young children.

This document recognises that how and when to introduce complementary foods in a manner that
does not disrupt exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age and the subsequent continuation of breastfeeding are an important part of counselling. It acknowledges the critical importance of ensuring access to adequate amounts of appropriate, safe, complementary foods and associated support during emergencies. However, this document does not cover complementary feeding counselling specifically.

Development process

The guidance was developed using a structured approach combining 1) interviews with key informants with experience and expertise in implementing breastfeeding counselling in emergency settings, 2) case studies of breastfeeding counselling interventions in emergency settings and 3) a desk review of grey and peer reviewed literature. Successes, challenges, gaps, required resources, compromises and adaptations for implementing counselling interventions in emergency settings were identified. The development of this document was guided by an expert peer review group comprised of IFE Core Group members and drew upon the WHO’s guidelines on Counselling of Women to Improve Breastfeeding Practices and Improving Early Childhood Developmenti. The guidance is considered an addendum to the WHO and UNICEF (2021) IG BFC.

How to use this guidance

The guidance is divided into three main sections. The first section, BREASTFEEDING COUNSELLING, discusses what breastfeeding counselling is and the entry points for breastfeeding counselling. The second section, PROVIDING BREASTFEEDING COUNSELLING IN EMERGENCIES, covers the application of five of WHO’s recommendations in emergency settings including who to prioritise for counselling, when, how often and how to provide counselling. For each recommendation, first consult the 'Challenges and Solutions' section to consider which challenges may be present in your context and to identify possible solutions. If there are no feasible solutions, move to 'Adaptations and Compromises'. The third section, COUNSELLING CAPACITY IN EMERGENCIES, provides guidance on WHO’s recommendation on who can provide counselling services and how to operationalise counselling services through ensuring adequate capacity is in place. Refer to the IG-BFC for guidance which applies to both emergency and non-emergency settings as well as further considerations on advocacy and policy, service planning, coordination, leadership, monitoring and evaluation, special populations and emergency preparedness. 

Download

Breastfeeding-In-Emergencies_.pdf (PDF, 4.4mb)

More like this

IYCF-E Resources

NEW: Visit the IYCF-E HUB recently established in May 2021 for a global, comprehensive and interactive repository of essential IYCF-E resources! Alternatively, find below a...

ENN Latest

ENN has released the Wasting 'Reset' Synthesis, a synthesis of working group recommendations to guide the development of the 'Wasting Reset' manifesto. Read here. The...

FEX: Infant and young child feeding in emergencies programming in the context of COVID-19: learnings from a webinar series

View this article as a pdf By Alessandro Iellamo, Linda Shaker Berbari, Ben Allen, Brooke Bauer, Aashima Garg, Andi Kendle, Peggy Koniz-Booher, Mija Ververs and Deborah Joy...

IFE Core Group Resources and Outputs

IFE Core Group Resources and Outputs The IFE Core Group engages in the development of useful resources and publications on IYCF-E. Documents consist of latest guidance on...

FEX: Adapting infant and young child feeding interventions in the context of COVID-19 in Somalia

View this article as a pdf By Sahra Moalim Ahmed, Bishar Osman Hussein and Emmanuel Barasa Sahra Moalim Ahmed is an Infant and Young Child Feeding Officerat Concern Worldwide...

FEX: Infant and young child feeding in emergencies: Programming adaptation in the context of COVID-19 in Lebanon

View this article as a pdf By Bayan Ahmad Bayan Ahmad is Senior Field Officer at International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), where she is responsible for overseeing...

en-net: IYCF training guide for community workers or any volunteers

Currently there are lots of documents regarding IYCF published by UN (WHO/UNICEF/UNHCR), NGO, and national governement level. These documents are mainly focused on strategy how...

en-net: Remote counselling during COVID-19

Have you switched from face-to-face to remote IYCF / breastfeeding counselling due to COVID-19? If so, what do you feel is working well and what isn't working well? How...

Resource: Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E). Programming in The Context Of COVID-19: Considerations for Adaptations

Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global emergency with 216 countries affected, more than 19 million confirmed cases and more than 900,000 deaths as of...

FEX: Use of educational videos to improve maternal breastfeeding knowledge and practices in Ethiopia

View this article as a pdf By Ritu Rana, Hatty Barthorp, Liya Assefa, Alemayhu Beri and Mary T Murphy Ritu Rana is a GOAL Nutrition Research Advisor (Management of At-risk...

FEX: CMAM Surge: the way forward

View this article as a pdf By Kate Golden and Sophie Whitney Kate Golden is Senior Nutrition Adviser at Concern Worldwide. Her career started in Ethiopia in 2003 in one of...

FEX: Nutrition in health response in emergencies: WHO perspectives and developments

By Zita Weise Prinzo, Adelheid Onyango, Dr Ferima-Coulibaly Zerbo, Hana Bekele, Dr Ngoy Nsenga and Adelheid Marschang View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en...

FEX: What’s new at ENN?

View this article as a pdf ENN strategic review: developing our new strategy together (2021-2026) As global leaders in knowledge management, evidence and learning, ENN is...

FEX: Artificial feeding in emergencies: experiences from the ongoing Syrian crisis

By Suzanne Mboya Suzanne Mboya is a consultant nutritionist. In 2014 she completed a sixth month mission supporting the Syrian crisis IYCF-E response through a partnership...

FEX: New UNHCR Policy on handling Milk Products

The revised edition of the UNHCR Policy Related to the Acceptance, Distribution, and Use of Milk Products in Refugee Settings is now available. The 2006 version replaces the...

en-net: Does the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes applies for Ready to Use commercially produced complementary foods ?

this question is regarding how the Code applies to commercially produced complementary foods and if they could be used as a demonstration method by health workers for...

MAMI Practice

Practice The MAMI Care Pathway Package (2021, Version 3) is a set of resources and materials that was co-created by members of the MAMI Global Network. Previously known as the...

FEX: A review of nutrition-related service delivery packages: What they train providers to deliver

View this article as a pdf Summary of research1 By Sascha Lamstein and Kelsey Torres Sascha Lamstein is a senior technical advisor for the United States Agency for...

en-net: Infant feeding in Dunkirk Refugee camp

I am a Breastfeeding Counsellor volunteering with the Calais and Dunkirk Infant Feeding Team, which is an informal grouping of Breastfeeding Counsellors from a couple of the...

FEX: HIV and infant feeding in emergencies operational guidance

In 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICF published the guideline Updates on HIV and infant feeding1, where the relevance of these recommendations in emergencies...

Close

Reference this page

ENN, IFE Core Group (2021). Operational Guidance on Breastfeeding Counselling in Emergencies. www.ennonline.net/breastfeedingcounsellinginemergencies

(ENN_7010)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.