Organised breastfeeding support does make a difference

16 March 2017
Woman breastfeeding a baby

New research has found that organised breastfeeding support for new mothers is effective in extending the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding.

The Cochrane Review looked more than 100 trials involving more than 80,000 women to determine the best model of breast feeding support and intervention.

The researchers found that regular interventions from trained personnel during antenatal or postnatal care led to greater numbers of women breastfeeding for longer.

The World Health Organisation recommends babies are exclusively breastfed until six months of age, but breastfeeding rates are still low in many countries.

In New Zealand, Plunket statistics show that 57% of babies are exclusively breastfed at six weeks of age.  This drops to 19% at six months.

The Cochrane review identified several key factors in successful breastfeeding interventions.  These included:

  • Face-to-face contact with a trained person
  • Volunteer support
  • A specific schedule of four to eight contacts
  • Support provided by trained volunteers, doctors or nurses.

The authors say the review shows that extra organised support helps women to breastfeed their babies for longer.

“Breastfeeding support may be more helpful if it is predictable, scheduled, and includes ongoing visits with trained health professionals including midwives, nurses and doctors, or with trained volunteers.”

You can read the full Cochrane Review looking at breastfeeding support here.