More mothers are breastfeeding their newborns, but for too short a duration to gain the maximum benefits of breastfeeding for both mothers and infants. New observations and a variety of strategies for encouraging women to breastfeed longer are presented in a collection of articles in Breastfeeding Medicine, the Official Journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
The articles are available online at www.liebertpub.com/bfm.
"The key issues are identified as education of the healthcare providers and the patients and a support system in the early weeks postpartum," writes Ruth Lawrence, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine, in her Editorial.
Dr. Lawrence emphasizes that this is a global problem. Despite the fact that initiation of breastfeeding has increased to about 75% of mother-baby pairs, the report of the Third Summit on Breastfeeding, held in June 2011 and published in Breastfeeding Medicine (Volume 6, Number 5, 2011), "focused on the deplorable duration in spite of improvement in initiation," she says.
The current issue features a series of articles that propose a variety of approaches, including mechanisms for intervening during pregnancy and after delivery and discharge home. They highlight the important role that community-based public health programs, prenatal education programs including those made available on the internet, and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program can play in encouraging longer duration of breastfeeding. Article topics include: "WIC and Breastfeeding Support Services: Does the Mix of Services Offered Vary with Race and Ethnicity?;" "Early Postpartum: A Critical Period in Setting the Path for Breastfeeding Success;" "What Predicts Intent to Breastfeed Exclusively? Breastfeeding Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs in a Diverse Urban Population;" "An Internet-Based Education Program Improves Breastfeeding Knowledge of Maternal-Child Healthcare Providers;" and "A Structured Public Health Approach to Increasing Rates and Duration of Breastfeeding in Romania."
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