OBJECTIVE: To provide health professionals with information on theory and practice of breastfeeding counseling. SOURCES OF DATA: MEDLINE, Bireme library, Lilacs, relevant Internet websites, scientific journals, technical books, essays, theses, and national and international publications were selected, studied and used to provide information on the topic. The most important sources of data were: a publication by the World Health Organization (WHO - 1993) and the authors' experience and clinic practice in the assistance of mothers, children and families. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: A trained pediatrician plays an important role in the increase of breastfeeding rates and its duration. To improve this performance, in 1993, WHO designed a 40-hour course using an important didactic strategy aimed at health professionals and mothers. The goal was to protect, promote and support maternal nursing. It is a professional way of dealing with the mother by listening and trying to understand her, offering her help on planning, taking decisions, and getting strength on how to deal with pressures, thus increasing her confidence and self-esteem. CONCLUSION: Scientific evidences prove the effectiveness of Breastfeeding Counseling. Moreover, health professional's knowledge and practice are very important to increase breastfeeding rates.
Breastfeeding; counseling; breastfeeding counseling; maternal nursing; medical education; pediatrician