Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hospital Practices Strongly Impact Breastfeeding Rates

Date:
March 19, 2009
Source:
Boston University
Summary:
Hospital practices, such as supplementing newborns with formula or water or giving them pacifiers, significantly reduce the chances that mothers who intend to exclusively breastfeed will achieve that intention, according to a new study.

Hospital practices, such as supplementing newborns with formula or water or giving them pacifiers, significantly reduce the chances that mothers who intend to exclusively breastfeed will achieve that intention, according to a new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health researcher.

Related Articles


In a study which appears online March 19 in the American Journal of Public Health, a research team led by Eugene Declercq, PhD, professor of Maternal and Child Health, found a significant drop-off between the numbers of mothers who intend to exclusively breastfeed, and those who fulfill that intention one week after giving birth. Among first-time mothers, 70 percent reported an intention to exclusively breastfeed, but only 50 percent achieved that goal at one week.

The study found that hospital practices were strongly related to those outcomes. Specifically, the practice of hospital staff providing formula or water to supplement breastfeeding was significantly related to the failure to achieve exclusive breastfeeding.

Mothers whose infants were not offered supplementation were far more likely to achieve their intention to breastfeed – 4.4 times more likely among primiparas (first-time mothers), and 8.8 times more likely among multiparas.

Other hospital practices also influenced outcomes. First-time mothers who delivered in hospitals that practiced at least six out of seven recommended steps to encourage breastfeeding -- such as helping mothers get started and not giving babies pacifiers – were six times more likely to fulfill their intention to exclusively breastfeed than mothers who reported experiencing one or none of these practices.

"Very often, research studies yield conclusions that don't translate easily into changes in practice or policy," Declercq said. "In this case, the message is loud and clear – hospital practices can make a difference in early breastfeeding success and in particular, every effort should be made to avoid supplementation of healthy babies of mothers who intended to exclusively breastfeed."

The study's findings indicate that many hospitals routinely employ practices that discourage mothers from exclusively breastfeeding, despite large-scale programs, such as the "Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative" launched by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, to encourage breastfeeding.

About half (49 percent) of first-time mothers who intended to exclusively breastfeed reported that their babies were given water or formula for supplementation, while 74 percent reported being given free formula samples or offers.

"Why are those hospital practices that have been repeatedly shown to increase breastfeeding among new mothers not more consistently instituted in United States hospitals?" Declercq and his co-authors asked. "A large proportion of mothers stop exclusive breastfeeding within the first week, and that action was strongly related to hospital practices."

The authors said the difference between "intention and practice" among women who intend to exclusively breastfeed represents "a huge lost opportunity to encourage and support breastfeeding in the United States." They said the study data suggests that nationwide, more than 400,000 infants a year born to mothers who intended to exclusively breastfeed were instead not benefiting from that option.

The authors cited recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical organizations that infants consume only mother's milk for at least the first six months of life.

The study analyzed data from Listening to Mothers II, a nationally representative survey of 1,573 mothers who had given birth in a hospital to a single infant in 2005. Mothers were asked retrospectively about their breastfeeding intentions, infant feeding practices at one week, and hospital practices.

The study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research and Childbirth Connection.

Other authors were: Miriam Labbok, MD, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Carol Sakala, PhD, Childbirth Connections; and MaryAnn O'Hara, MD, University of Washington.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Boston University. "Hospital Practices Strongly Impact Breastfeeding Rates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319161505.htm>.
Boston University. (2009, March 19). Hospital Practices Strongly Impact Breastfeeding Rates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319161505.htm
Boston University. "Hospital Practices Strongly Impact Breastfeeding Rates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319161505.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Wound-Healing Laser Soon to Be a Reality Israeli Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 1, 2015) Israeli scientists says laser bonding of tissue allows much faster healing and less scarring. Amy Pollock has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone have been busy fighting the menace created by the deadly Ebola virus, but illicit drug lords have taken advantage of the situation to advance the drug trade. Duration: 01:12 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stigma Stalks India's Leprosy Sufferers as Disease Returns

Stigma Stalks India's Leprosy Sufferers as Disease Returns

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The Indian government declared victory over leprosy in 2005, but the disease is making a comeback in some parts of the country, with more than a hundred thousand lepers still living in colonies, shunned from society. Duration: 02:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins