Postpartum education and support on breastfeeding duration (pp. 291-298)
Authors: Kelly Eichmann, Timothy Baghurst, and Chris Jayne
Abstract: Although the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and infant are numerous, a large number of women choose not to breastfeed. The purpose of this study was to determine whether regular postpartum follow-up by a certified lactation Consultant (CLC) or Certified lactation Educator (CLE) increased the duration mothers breastfed their infants. Ninety-four (Control = 54; Experimental = 40) breastfeeding mothers completed a 24-week study in which participants in the experimental condition received 9 follow-up support telephone calls by either a CLC or CLE. These calls were used to elicit possible breastfeeding problems, offer solutions, identify factors that may have influenced the mother's decision to initiate and continue breastfeeding, and to identify why mothers would decide to discontinue breastfeeding. Follow-up by a CLC or CLE did not yield significantly longer durations in breastfeeding. However, gender of the breastfeeding infant, hospital discharge with supplemental formula, and the use of pacifiers were found to influence breastfeeding duration. In addition, both groups breastfed longer than the national average indicating that specific hospital protocols can positively influence breastfeeding duration. Findings are discussed and practical implications for health practitioners are provided.