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206612 Mothers' hospital experiences with breastfeeding education and support in the Philadelphia metropolitan area
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Background: Breast milk is the most complete form of human nutrition and provides infants with the best foundation for a healthy life. The first 48 hours after delivery are critical to establish infant feeding habits. Hospitals play a crucial role in providing the environment which either encourages or discourages mothers from breastfeeding.
Methods: Telephone interviews were conducted with mothers who delivered a child at a hospital within the past year and attempted breastfeeding at least once. Interviews addressed hospital practices experienced after delivery, including breastfeeding promotion and support. The questionnaire was structured around the WHO's Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding- including questions regarding timely initiation, breastfeeding education, information provided by hospital staff, supplementation, and support following discharge.
Results: Initial interviews revealed that mothers experienced prolonged separation from the infant (36%), early supplementation in the hospital (55%), and inadequate support at hospital discharge (85%) as barriers to breastfeeding success. The availability of lactation consultants on staff at a hospital directly correlated with the quality of breastfeeding education and support the mothers received. Mothers expressed the desire for health care professionals in pediatrics to be more active in breastfeeding support.
Conclusion: By actively encouraging mothers to breastfeed in the hospital, health care professionals can monitor and assist with proper breastfeeding technique and positioning to best prepare a mother to feed the infant on her own. Physicians and staff working in maternal health and pediatrics need to better support mothers who choose to breastfeed to ensure a successful experience.
Keywords: Breastfeeding, Hospitals
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently earning my Masters of Public Health and doing my thesis on breastfeeding support within the hospital setting. I also have a B.S. in Health Sciences from Wake Forest University.
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.