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1.  Exploring the impact of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative on trends in exclusive breastfeeding 
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) seeks to support breastfeeding initiation in maternity services. This study uses country-level data to examine the relationship between BFHI programming and trends in exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) in 14 developing countries.
Demographic and Health Surveys and UNICEF BFHI Reports provided EBF and BFHI data. Because country programs were initiated in different years, data points were realigned to the year that the first Baby-Friendly hospital was certified in that country. Pre-and post-implementation time periods were analyzed using fixed effects models to account for grouping of data by country, and compared to assess differences in trends.
Statistically significant upward trends in EBF under two months and under six months, as assessed by whether fitted trends had slopes significantly different from 0, were observed only during the period following BFHI implementation, and not before. BFHI implementation was associated with average annual increases of 1.54 percentage points in the rate of EBF of infants under two months (p < 0.001) and 1.11-percentage points in the rate of EBF of infants under six months (p < 0.001); however, these rates were not statistically different from pre-BFHI trends.
BFHI implementation was associated with a statistically significant annual increase in rates of EBF in the countries under study; however, small sample sizes may have contributed to the fact that results do not demonstrate a significant difference from pre-BFHI trends. Further research is needed to consider trends according to the percentages of Baby-Friendly facilities, percent of all births occurring in these facilities, and continued compliance with the program.
PMCID: PMC2777851  PMID: 19874618
2.  Implementing Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative policy: the case of New Zealand public hospitals 
Studies show that when the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is implemented breastfeeding rates increase. However, there are likely to be various barriers to BFHI implementation. This article reports on an empirical study of government-directed BFHI implementation in the New Zealand public hospital system. It focuses primarily on the barriers encountered through implementing the first Two Steps of the BFHI: developing BFHI policy and communicating it to staff; and providing necessary staff training.
Qualitative interview data were collected from six lactation consultants. These interviewees emerged via a purposive sample of public hospitals that represent the full range of New Zealand public hospitals. Using a content analysis technique, key themes were drawn from the transcribed interview data.
Analysis revealed eight themes: the hospitals were in varying stages of BFHI policy development; hospital policy was not necessarily based on government policy; hospital policies were communicated in differing ways and dependent on resources; factors outside of hospital control impacted on capacity to improve breastfeeding rates; and complex organisational matters pose a barrier to educating personnel involved in the birthing process.
The findings of this study provide empirical support for prior articles about the process of BFHI policy development and implementation. The study also shows that implementation is multi-faceted and complex.
PMCID: PMC1858680  PMID: 17448254
3.  Implementing the ten steps to successful breastfeeding in multiple hospitals serving low-wealth patients in the US: innovative research design and baseline findings 
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are maternity practices proven to support successful achievement of exclusive breastfeeding. They also are the basis for the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). This study explores implementation of these steps in hospitals that serve predominantly low wealth populations.
A quasi-experimental design with mixed methods for data collection and analysis was included within an intervention project. We compared the impact of a modified Ten Steps implementation approach to a control group. The intervention was carried out in hospitals where: 1) BFHI designation was not necessarily under consideration, and 2) the majority of the patient population was low wealth, i.e., eligible for Medicaid. Hospitals in the research aspect of this project were systematically assigned to one of two groups: Initial Intervention or Initial Control/Later Intervention. This paper includes analyses from the baseline data collection, which consisted of an eSurvey (i.e., Carolina B-KAP), Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care survey tool (mPINC), the BFHI Self-Appraisal, key informant interviews, breastfeeding data, and formatted feedback discussion.
Comparability was ensured by statistical and non-parametric tests of baseline characteristics of the two groups. Additional findings of interest included: 1) a universal lack of consistent breastfeeding records and statistics for regular monitoring/review, 2) widespread misinterpretation of associated terminology, 3) health care providers’ reported practices not necessarily reflective of their knowledge and attitudes, and 4) specific steps were found to be associated with hospital breastfeeding rates. A comprehensive set of facilitators and obstacles to initiation of the Ten Steps emerged, and hospital-specific practice change challenges were identified.
This is one of the first studies to examine introduction of the Ten Steps in multiple hospitals with a control group and in hospitals that were not necessarily interested in BFHI designation, where the population served is predominantly low wealth, and with the use of a mixed methods approach. Limitations including numbers of hospitals and inability to adhere to all elements of the design are discussed.
For improvements in quality of care for breastfeeding dyads, innovative and site-specific intervention modification must be considered.
PMCID: PMC3669017  PMID: 23688264
Ten steps; BFHI; Breastfeeding; Multi-hospital; Operational research; Quality of care; Readiness to change
4.  Re-assessment of selected Baby-Friendly maternity facilities in Accra, Ghana 
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) has been implemented in Ghana since 1995. At the end of 2011, about 325 maternity facilities in Ghana had been designated Baby Friendly. However, none had been re-assessed for adherence to the Ten Steps to successful breastfeeding (Ten Steps). The current study re-assessed six maternity facilities in Accra for adherence to the Ten Steps and the International Code of Marketing of breast milk substitutes (the Code).
Three independent assessors performed the re-assessment using the revised WHO/UNICEF external re-assessment tool (ERT) between April and June, 2011. All sections of the ERT were implemented, except for the HIV/infant feeding section. Assessors interviewed 90 clinical staff of the facilities, 60 pregnant women, and 150 women who had given birth and waiting to be discharged from the hospital. Additionally, observations were completed on neonate feeding and compliance with the Code. Data was analyzed to assess adherence to the Ten Steps and the Code.
In 2010, the six facilities recorded a total of 26,339 deliveries. At discharge, the weighted exclusive breastfeeding rate was 93.8%. None of the facilities adhered completely to the Ten Steps. Overall, the rate of adherence to the Ten Steps was 42% (range = 30 - 70%). No facility met the criteria for Steps One and Two. Only Step Seven was adhered to by all facilities. Overall compliance with the Code was about 54%. Trained staff attrition, high client-staff ratios, inadequate in-service training for new staff, and inadequate support for regional and national program monitoring were identified as barriers to adherence.
Poor adherence to Baby-Friendly practices in designated BFHI facilities was observed in urban Accra. Renewed efforts to support monitoring of designated facilities is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3832220  PMID: 24216173
Adherence; Baby-Friendly; Breastfeeding; Monitoring; Re-assessment
5.  Breastfeeding in Oman-The way forward 
Oman Medical Journal  2008;23(4):236-240.
Child health programs in Oman are considered to be successful. Before 1970, the infant mortality rate was predictable to be 214 out of 1,000 live births declined to 25 by 1992. The significance of breastfeeding in the survival and health of the children was known by the health authorities and the Baby Friendly Hospitals Initiative (BFHI) was launched in the 1990’s. The WHO and UNICEF embarked on a national certification of all hospitals in Oman and by 1999 all marked hospitals were thus certified. The aim of the following policy proposals is to enhance awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding for the community and to propose measures to ensure breastfeeding is supported and thus made a practical option. It seems futile to increase the awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding if the information to ensure that it is a feasible option is not available. The policies were developed with the consideration of the complex barriers that exist regarding breastfeeding as well as recognition of social and cultural barriers. The following policies would combine to be a multifaceted approach and thus increase the potential success of increasing the prevalence of breastfeeding. This policy can apply at all levels: government, private institutions, community and public.
PMCID: PMC3273917  PMID: 22334834
6.  The Baby-Friendly Initiative: Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2012;17(6):317-321.
Breastfeeding confers extensive and well-established benefits and is recognized as an extremely effective preventative health measure for both mothers and babies. Except in very few specific medical situations, breastfeeding should be universally encouraged for all mothers and infants. To improve worldwide breastfeeding initiation and duration rates, the WHO and UNICEF launched the Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) in 1991. The goal was to protect, promote and support breastfeeding by adherence to the WHO’s “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding”. Since then, more than 20,000 hospitals in 156 countries have achieved Baby-Friendly status, with a resultant increase in both breastfeeding initiation and duration. Still, only 500 hospitals are currently designated Baby-Friendly in industrialized countries, including 37 health centres or health authorities in Canada. Health care practitioners have a unique and influential role in promoting and supporting breastfeeding. Provincial and territorial government leadership is essential to ensuring implementation of the BFI in all health care facilities delivering services to families with young children.
PMCID: PMC3380749  PMID: 23730170
Baby-Friendly Initiative; Breastfeeding; Breast milk
7.  Baby‐Friendly: snappy slogan or standard of care? 
Breastfeeding offers significant protection against illness for the infant and numerous health benefits for the mother, including a decreased risk of breast cancer. In 1991, UNICEF and WHO launched the Baby‐Friendly Hospital Initiative with the aim of increasing rates of breastfeeding. “Baby‐Friendly” is a designation a maternity site can receive by demonstrating to external assessors compliance with the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. The Ten Steps are a series of best practice standards describing a pattern of care where commonly found practices harmful to breastfeeding are replaced with evidence based practices proven to increase breastfeeding outcome. Currently, approximately 19 250 hospitals worldwide have achieved Baby‐Friendly status, less than 500 of which are found in industrialised nations. The Baby‐Friendly initiative has increased breastfeeding rates, reduced complications, and improved mothers' health care experiences.
PMCID: PMC2672673  PMID: 16492953
Baby‐Friendly; breastfeeding; UNICEF
8.  Breastfeeding support for adolescent mothers: similarities and differences in the approach of midwives and qualified breastfeeding supporters 
The protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding are now major public health priorities. It is well established that skilled support, voluntary or professional, proactively offered to women who want to breastfeed, can increase the initiation and/or duration of breastfeeding. Low levels of breastfeeding uptake and continuation amongst adolescent mothers in industrialised countries suggest that this is a group that is in particular need of breastfeeding support. Using qualitative methods, the present study aimed to investigate the similarities and differences in the approaches of midwives and qualified breastfeeding supporters (the Breastfeeding Network (BfN)) in supporting breastfeeding adolescent mothers.
The study was conducted in the North West of England between September 2001 and October 2002. The supportive approaches of 12 midwives and 12 BfN supporters were evaluated using vignettes, short descriptions of an event designed to obtain specific information from participants about their knowledge, perceptions and attitudes to a particular situation. Responses to vignettes were analysed using thematic networks analysis, involving the extraction of basic themes by analysing each script line by line. The basic themes were then grouped to form organising themes and finally central global themes. Discussion and consensus was reached related to the systematic development of the three levels of theme.
Five components of support were identified: emotional, esteem, instrumental, informational and network support. Whilst the supportive approaches of both groups incorporated elements of each of the five components of support, BfN supporters placed greater emphasis upon providing emotional and esteem support and highlighted the need to elicit the mothers' existing knowledge, checking understanding through use of open questions and utilising more tentative language. Midwives were more directive and gave more examples of closed questions. These differences could reflect the considerable emphasis upon person-centred approaches within the BfN curriculum and, in the case of midwives, the bureaucratic and institutional constraints upon them making it difficult, if not impossible, to take time and touch base with women.
Follow up ethnographic work is required to assess the differences in the supportive approaches of BfN supporters and midwives in the practice areas. Such research, which specifically focuses upon how the different approaches are received and experienced by parents, is required before meaningful policy and practice recommendations can be made.
PMCID: PMC1687180  PMID: 17125521
9.  Improving Hospital Breastfeeding Policies in New York State: Development of the Model Hospital Breastfeeding Policy 
Breastfeeding Medicine  2013;8(1):3-7.
The public health importance of breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding, is gaining increased recognition. Despite a strong evidence base that key hospital maternity practices (Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding) impact breastfeeding initiation and exclusivity in the hospital and breastfeeding duration post-discharge, they are not widely implemented. In 2009, written hospital breastfeeding policies were collected from all New York State (NYS) hospitals providing maternity care services (n=139). A systematic assessment of the policies found that, on average, approximately half (19/32) the components required under NYS hospital regulations were included. Inclusion of each of the Ten Steps varied from 14% to 98%. An evidence-based Model Hospital Breastfeeding Policy was developed that included required components (based on NYS hospital regulations and legislation) and recommendations from expert groups such as the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, Baby Friendly USA, Inc., and the United States Breastfeeding Committee. Improved hospital breastfeeding policies are a critical first step in improving hospital maternity care to better promote, support, and protect breastfeeding. Additional efforts throughout health care, the workplace, and the broader community will be required to make breastfeeding the norm.
PMCID: PMC3568958  PMID: 23249136
10.  High initiation and long duration of breastfeeding despite absence of early skin-to-skin contact in Karen refugees on the Thai-Myanmar border: a mixed methods study 
Early skin-to-skin contact (SSC) after birth is recommended as part of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) baby friendly health initiative to promote optimum breastfeeding. This paper reports rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration in a low resource environment, where early SSC is not practised, and explores views of pregnant women and midwives surrounding breastfeeding and swaddling.
Data from records from a single hospital on the Thai-Myanmar border where refugee women gave birth during a one-year period (2010) were used to determine breastfeeding initiation rates and the time of the first breastfeed, and duration of breastfeeding of the previous alive child in multigravidae. Focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted to obtain information from pregnant women attending antenatal care about their intended or previous duration of breastfeeding and views on breastfeeding. Interviews with local midwives explored reasons for high rates of breastfeeding in this setting and the practice of newborn swaddling.
Of 1404 live births in 2010 in Maela refugee camp there were 982 evaluable mother-newborn pairs, including 80 infants born before 37 weeks gestation. Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and exclusive breastfeeding at discharge in term mother-newborn pairs was 91.2% (823/902) and 99.3% (896/902); and before 37 weeks gestation, 48.8% (39/80) and 98.8% (79/80). Reported duration of previous breastfeeding was 19 (range 2 to 72) months.
During FGD all primigravidae (n = 17) intended to breastfeed and all multigravidae (n = 33) had previously breastfed; expected or previous duration of feeding was for more than one year or longer. The major theme identified during FGD was breastfeeding is “good”. Women stated their intention to breastfeed with certainty. This certainty was echoed during the interviews with midwifery staff. SSC requires a delay in early swaddling that in Karen people, with animistic beliefs, could risk loss of the spirit of the newborn or attract malevolent spirits.
In a population with a strong culture of breastfeeding and robust breastfeeding practices, high rates of initiation and duration of breastfeeding were found despite a lack of early skin-to-skin contact. Local preferences, traditions and practices that protect, support and maintain high rates of breastfeeding should be promoted.
PMCID: PMC3547777  PMID: 23241099
Breastfeeding initiation; Breastfeeding duration; Early skin-to-skin care; Midwifery; Refugee; Resource-poor; Swaddling
11.  A qualitative study of the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding by health professionals in Niamey, Niger 
The practice of exclusive breastfeeding depends on various factors related to both mothers and their environment, including the services delivered by health professionals. It is known that support and counseling by health professionals can improve rates, early initiation and total duration of breastfeeding, particularly exclusive breastfeeding. Mothers' decisions are influenced by health professionals' advice. However, in Niger the practice of exclusive breastfeeding is almost non-existent.
The purpose of this exploratory study, of which some results are presented here, was to document health professionals' attitudes and practices with regard to exclusive breastfeeding promotion in hospital settings in the urban community of Niamey, Niger.
Fieldwork was conducted in Niamey, Niger. A qualitative approach was employed. Health professionals' practices were observed in a sample of frontline public healthcare facilities.
The field observation results presented here indicate that exclusive breastfeeding is not promoted in healthcare facilities because the health professionals do not encourage it and their practices are inappropriate. Some still have limited knowledge or are misinformed about this practice or do not believe in it. They do not systematically discuss exclusive breastfeeding with mothers, or they mention it only briefly and without giving any explanation. Worse still, some encourage the use of breast milk substitutes, which are frequently promoted in healthcare facilities. Thus mothers often receive contradictory messages.
The results suggest the need to train or retrain health professionals with regard to exclusive breastfeeding, and regularly supervise their activities.
PMCID: PMC2925814  PMID: 20691108
12.  Two sides of breastfeeding support: experiences of women and midwives 
Midwives' support of breastfeeding in maternity wards has been proven to provide an impact on women's breastfeeding experiences. In previous studies women describe professional support unfavourably, with an emphasis on time pressures, lack of availability or guidance, promotion of unhelpful practices, and conflicting advice. Thus, the present study aims to investigate women's experiences and reflections of receiving breastfeeding support and midwives' experiences and reflections of giving breastfeeding support.
This study was carried out in a county in southwestern Sweden during 2003-2004. A qualitative method, content analysis, was chosen for the study. The data came from interviews with women as well as interviews with midwives who were experienced in breastfeeding support.
The women's and midwives' experiences and reflections of receiving and giving breastfeeding support were conceptualized as one main theme: "Individualized breastfeeding support increases confidence and satisfaction." This theme contained three categories: "The unique woman," "The sensitive confirming process," and "Consistency of ongoing support." In order to feel confident in their new motherhood role, the women wanted more confirmation as unique individuals and as breastfeeding women; they wanted to be listened to; and they wanted more time, understanding, and follow-up from health professionals. In contrast, the midwives described themselves as encouraging and confirming of the women's needs.
If health care professionals responded to the woman's unique needs, the woman felt that the breastfeeding support was good and was based on her as an individual, otherwise a feeling of uncertainty emerged. The midwives, however, expressed that they gave the women individual support, but they also expressed that the support came from different points of view, because the midwives interpreted women's signals differently.
PMCID: PMC3001698  PMID: 21114812
13.  A family practice breastfeeding education pilot program: an observational, descriptive study 
The United States Preventive Services Task Force found that effective interventions for extending breastfeeding duration are generally begun during the prenatal period, provide ongoing support for patients and combine information with face-to-face guidance. A 2001 literature review had similar findings but also found that employing a lactation consultant in the clinical setting may increase breastfeeding duration rates. Thus, a program was developed at a family practice office that employed a lactation consultant and followed the American Academy of Pediatrics' "Ten Steps to Support Parents' Choice to Breastfeed Their Baby."
The program distributed handouts at each prenatal and well-child visit (up to one year). Using questionnaires, a small audit project evaluated the program's impact on breastfeeding goals, duration, in-hospital exclusivity and maternal perception of success. Mothers completed goal surveys at baseline and post-intervention, usually while waiting for prenatal clinic visits. Duration was assessed by surveys completed during well-infant visits, postal mailings or telephone interviews at breastfeeding cessation, 6 months and 1 year. The outcomes measured were increases in goals, maternal perception of success, duration and in-hospital exclusivity.
Participants included 33 women: 48% had a bachelor's or master's degree, 61% were non-Hispanic white, and 67% reported incomes of US$75,000 or higher. At baseline 5/31 planned to exclusively breastfeed for 4–6 months and 5/33 planned to breastfeed for 6–12 months. Post-intervention there was a 200% increase (15/31) in the exclusively breastfeeding 4–6 month group and a 160% increase (13/33) in the 6–12 month duration group. Actual in-hospital exclusivity rates were 61%, 6-month duration rates were 73%, and 12-month rates were 33%. Over 75% of mothers reported feeling successful.
This small pilot educational program may have significant impacts on breastfeeding goals. Setting and meeting goals may increase duration and in-hospital exclusivity rates as well as enhance maternal self-perception and empowerment due to succeeding at their breastfeeding goals and/or experiencing a fulfilling breastfeeding relationship.
PMCID: PMC1831463  PMID: 17338821
14.  Factors associated with breastfeeding cessation in nursing mothers in a peer support programme in Eastern Lancashire 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:3.
The UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates worldwide and in recent years the Government has made breastfeeding promotion one of its priorities. The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative is likely to increase breastfeeding initiation but not duration. Other strategies which involve provision of support for breastfeeding mothers in the early weeks after birth are therefore required to encourage UK mothers to breastfeed for the recommended duration. This paper examines the effects of maternal socio-demographic factors, maternal obstetric factors, and in-hospital infant feeding practices on breastfeeding cessation in a peer support setting.
Data on mothers from Blackburn with Darwen (BwD) and Hyndburn in Eastern Lancashire who gave birth at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and initiated breastfeeding while in hospital were linked to the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). The data were analysed to describe infant feeding methods up to 6 months and the association between breastfeeding cessation, and maternal factors and in-hospital infant feeding practices.
The mean breastfeeding duration was 21.6 weeks (95% CI 20.86 to 22.37 weeks) and the median duration was 27 weeks (95% CI 25.6 to 28.30 weeks). White mothers were 69% more likely to stop breastfeeding compared with non-White mothers (HR: 0.59; 95% CI, 0.52 to 0.67 [White mothers were the reference group]). Breastfeeding cessation was also independently associated with parity and infant feeding practices in hospital. There were no significant associations between breastfeeding cessation and marital status, mode of delivery, timing of breastfeeding initiation and socio-economic deprivation.
In this study ethnicity, parity and in-hospital infant feeding practices remained independent predictors of breastfeeding cessation in this peer support setting. However other recognised predictors such as marital status, mode of delivery, timing of breastfeeding initiation and socio-economic deprivation were not found to be associated with breastfeeding cessation.
PMCID: PMC2828426  PMID: 20105284
15.  Ecology and policy for exclusive breastfeeding in Colombia: a proposal 
Colombia Médica : CM  null;43(3):206-211.
Breastfeeding promotion is one of the most important strategies against infant mortality and to control child undernourishment. Despite policies and plans to promote and protect breastfeeding in Colombia, its practice is low and its duration is short.
To propose an ecology framework to interpret and incorporate contextual, interpersonal, and individual factors associated with the practice of breastfeeding and duration. Thereby, the plans and policies addressed to promote and protect breastfeeding in Colombia could be reinforced.
To implement an ecology framework for Breastfeeding in Colombia, it is necessary to identify the effect of contextual factors in the biggest cultural regions of Colombia, to recognize the limitations of Infant-Friendly Hospital Initiatives to improve exclusive breastfeeding duration, to execute prospective studies in order to identify factors associated with breastfeeding duration, to design and implement plans and policies based on comprehensive planning strategies of healthcare interventions, to develop appropriate and cost-effective extra-institutional strategies aimed at prolonging the duration of breastfeeding, and to implement more reliable breastfeeding surveillance systems.
PMCID: PMC4001960  PMID: 24893193
Breast feeding; infant nutrition; Colombia; ecology; Health ; planning
16.  The effect of health visitors on breastfeeding in Glasgow 
The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative includes a community component to help women who want to breastfeed. This study aimed to document the health visitor role in promoting and supporting breastfeeding in Glasgow during 2000 and the effect it had on breastfeeding rates.
Glasgow, UK, has a population of 906,000, with approximately 10,000 births per year. Glasgow has high levels of material deprivation and traditionally low breastfeeding rates. This was a cross-sectional study in January 2000 which used a postal questionnaire to document individual health visitors' interventions, activities and attitude towards breastfeeding. Infant's breastfeeding data collected routinely by the Child Health Surveillance programme from 1 August 1998 to 28 February 1999 was directly matched with interventions, activities and attitudes reported by their own health visitor.
146/216 (68%) health visitors completed and returned the questionnaire. 5401 child health records were eligible and 3,294 (58.2%) could be matched with health visitors who returned questionnaires. 2145 infants had the first visit from 8 to 20 days of age and the second 3 to 7 weeks later. At the first postnatal visit 835 of 2145 (39%) infants were breastfed (median age of 13 days) and 646 (30%) continued to breastfeed at the second visit (median age 35 days).
Infants being breastfed at the first visit were significantly more likely to be fed infant formula at the second visit if their health visitors had had no breastfeeding training in the previous two years (OR1.74 95%CI 1.13, 2.68).
It is essential that Health Visitors are specially trained to support breastfeeding postnatally.
PMCID: PMC1526418  PMID: 16822298
17.  Breastfeeding Education and Support Trial for Overweight and Obese Women: A Randomized Trial 
Pediatrics  2013;131(1):e162-e170.
To evaluate a specialized breastfeeding peer counseling (SBFPC) intervention promoting exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) among overweight/obese, low-income women.
We recruited 206 pregnant, overweight/obese, low-income women and randomly assigned them to receive SBFPC or standard care (controls) at a Baby-Friendly hospital. SBFPC included 3 prenatal visits, daily in-hospital support, and up to 11 postpartum home visits promoting EBF and addressing potential obesity-related breastfeeding barriers. Standard care involved routine access to breastfeeding support from hospital personnel, including staff peer counselors. Data collection included an in-hospital interview, medical record review, and monthly telephone calls through 6 months postpartum to assess infant feeding practices, demographics, and health outcomes. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were conducted.
The intervention had no impact on EBF or breastfeeding continuation at 1, 3, or 6 months postpartum. In adjusted posthoc analyses, at 2 weeks postpartum the intervention group had significantly greater odds of continuing any breastfeeding (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 3.76 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07–13.22]), and giving at least 50% of feedings as breast milk (aOR: 4.47 [95% CI: 1.38–14.5]), compared with controls. Infants in the intervention group had significantly lower odds of hospitalization during the first 6 months after birth (aOR: 0.24 [95% CI: 0.07–0.86]).
In a Baby-Friendly hospital setting, SBFPC targeting overweight/obese women did not impact EBF practices but was associated with increased rates of any breastfeeding and breastfeeding intensity at 2 weeks postpartum and decreased rates of infant hospitalization in the first 6 months after birth.
PMCID: PMC3529944  PMID: 23209111
breastfeeding; peer counseling; obesity; overweight; exclusive breastfeeding; hospitalization; breastfeeding self efficacy
18.  Ringing Up about Breastfeeding: a randomised controlled trial exploring early telephone peer support for breastfeeding (RUBY) – trial protocol 
The risks of not breastfeeding for mother and infant are well established, yet in Australia, although most women initiate breastfeeding many discontinue breastfeeding altogether and few women exclusively breastfeed to six months as recommended by the World Health Organization and Australian health authorities. We aim to determine whether proactive telephone peer support during the postnatal period increases the proportion of infants who are breastfed at six months, replicating a trial previously found to be effective in Canada.
A two arm randomised controlled trial will be conducted, recruiting primiparous women who have recently given birth to a live baby, are proficient in English and are breastfeeding or intending to breastfeed. Women will be recruited in the postnatal wards of three hospitals in Melbourne, Australia and will be randomised to peer support or to ‘usual’ care. All women recruited to the trial will receive usual hospital postnatal care and infant feeding support. For the intervention group, peers will make two telephone calls within the first ten days postpartum, then weekly telephone calls until week twelve, with continued contact until six months postpartum. Primary aim: to determine whether postnatal telephone peer support increases the proportion of infants who are breastfed for at least six months. Hypothesis: that telephone peer support in the postnatal period will increase the proportion of infants receiving any breast milk at six months by 10% compared with usual care (from 46% to 56%).
Outcome data will be analysed by intention to treat. A supplementary multivariate analysis will be undertaken if there are any baseline differences in the characteristics of women in the two groups which might be associated with the primary outcomes.
The costs and health burdens of not breastfeeding fall disproportionately and increasingly on disadvantaged groups. We have therefore deliberately chosen trial sites which have a high proportion of women from disadvantaged backgrounds. This will be the first Australian randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of proactive peer telephone support for breastfeeding.
Trial registration
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12612001024831.
PMCID: PMC4068322  PMID: 24886264
Breastfeeding; Exclusive breastfeeding; Breastfeeding rates; Peer support; Telephone; Australia
19.  A Controlled Study on Baby-Friendly Communities in Italy: Methods and Baseline Data 
Breastfeeding Medicine  2013;8(2):198-204.
This study reports the research methods and baseline data of a project aimed at assessing the effect of an intervention based on the 7 Steps of the Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) on the rate of exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months in Italy.
Subjects and Methods
In this controlled, nonrandomized study, nine Local Health Authorities were assigned to an early and nine to a late intervention group. Data on breastfeeding in infants followed up from birth to 12 months were gathered at baseline and in two subsequent rounds, after the 7 Steps were implemented in the early and late intervention groups, respectively. Step-down logistic regression analysis, corrected for the cluster effect, was used to compare breastfeeding rates between groups.
At baseline, there were no significant differences in breastfeeding rates at birth (n=1,781) and at 3 (n=1,854), 6 (n=1,601), and 12 (n=1,510; loss to follow-up, 15.2%) months between groups. At birth, 96% of mothers initiated breastfeeding, 72% exclusively (recall from birth). At 3 months, 77% of infants were breastfed, 54% exclusively with 24-hour and 46% with 7-day recall. At 6 months, the rate of any breastfeeding was 62%, with 10% and 7% exclusive breastfeeding with 24-hour and 7-day recall, respectively. At 12 months, 31% of the children continued to breastfeed.
The project is ongoing and will allow estimation of the effect of the BFCI.
PMCID: PMC3616411  PMID: 23398142
20.  Infant feeding, poverty and human development 
The relationship between poverty and human development touches on a central aim of the International Breastfeeding Journal's editorial policy which is to support and protect the health and wellbeing of all infants through the promotion of breastfeeding. It is proposed that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding to 12 months, could prevent 1,301,000 deaths or 13% of all child deaths under 5 years in a hypothetical year. Although there is a conventional wisdom that poverty 'protects' breastfeeding in developing countries, poverty actually threatens breastfeeding, both directly and indirectly. In the light of increasingly aggressive marketing behaviour of the infant formula manufacturers and the need to protect the breastfeeding rights of working women, urgent action is required to ensure the principles and aim of the International Code of Breastmilk Substitutes, and subsequent relevant resolutions of the World Health Assembly, are implemented. If global disparities in infant health and development are to be significantly reduced, gender inequities associated with reduced access to education and inadequate nutrition for girls need to be addressed. Improving women's physical and mental health will lead to better developmental outcomes for their children.
PMCID: PMC2048939  PMID: 17953747
21.  Impact of a Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace on an Employed Mother's Intention to Continue Breastfeeding After Returning to Work 
Breastfeeding Medicine  2013;8(2):210-216.
Ever-increasing populations of women in their childbearing years are choosing to become employed. Breastfeeding provides unique health advantages to both the infant and mother. A breastfeeding-friendly workplace might be an important factor for predicting breastfeeding rates among working women. To explore the impact of breastfeeding-friendly support on the intention of working mothers to continue breastfeeding, we conducted a survey at a female labor-intensive electronics manufacturer in Taiwan.
Subjects and Methods
A structured questionnaire survey was administered to 715 working mothers employed in an electronics manufacturing plant in Tainan Science Park in Southern Taiwan. Questionnaire content included female employee demographics, employment characteristics, continued breastfeeding behavior after returning to work, access to lactation rooms, and employee perception of the breastfeeding policy and support when raising their most recently born child.
A higher education level (odds ratio [OR]=2.66), lower work load (8 work hours/day) (OR=2.66), lactation room with dedicated space (OR=2.38), use of breast pumping breaks (OR=61.6), and encouragement from colleagues (OR=2.78) and supervisors (OR=2.44) to use breast pumping breaks were significant predictors of continued breastfeeding for more than 6 months after returning to work.
The findings of the present study suggest that to encourage and increase the rate of continued breastfeeding, workplaces should establish dedicated breastfeeding rooms and maintain a comfortable and clean environment. Furthermore, employers should provide encouragement and support for working mothers to continue breastfeeding after returning to work.
PMCID: PMC3616406  PMID: 23390987
22.  Breastfeeding in Iran: prevalence, duration and current recommendations 
The need to promote breastfeeding is unquestionable for the health and development of infants. The aim of this study was to investigate prevalence, duration and promotion of breastfeeding status in Iran with respect to the Baby Friendly Hospital, government actions and activities by the Breastfeeding Promotion Society including comparison with European countries.
This retrospective study is based on data from 63,071 infants less than 24 months of age in all the 30 urban and rural provinces of Iran. The data of breastfeeding rates were collected in 2005-2006 by trained health workers in the Integrated Monitoring Evaluation System in the Family Health Office of the Ministry of Health to evaluate its subordinate offices. A translated version of a questionnaire, used to assess the current breastfeeding situation in Europe, was used.
At a national level, 90% and 57% of infants were breastfed at one and two-years of age, respectively. Exclusive breastfeeding rates at 4 and 6 months of age at national level averaged 56.8% and 27.7%. Exclusive breastfeeding rates at 4 and 6 months of age in rural areas were 58% and 29%, and in urban areas 56% and 27%, respectively. The policy questionnaire showed that out of the 566 hospitals across the country 466 hospitals were accredited as Baby Friendly Hospitals, covering more than 80% of the births in 2006. A national board set standards and certified pre-service education at the Ministry of Health. Iran officially adopted the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes in 1991. The legislation for working mothers met the International Labour Organization standards that cover women with formal employment. The Ministry of Health and Breastfeeding Promotion Society were responsible for producing booklets, pamphlets, breastfeeding journal, CD, workshops and websites. Monitoring of breastfeeding rates was performed every four years and funded by the Ministry of Health within the budgets assigned to the health care system.
In comparison to many European Union countries, Iran showed a favorable situation in terms of breastfeeding rates and promotion of breastfeeding. Iran still needs to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months.
PMCID: PMC2734342  PMID: 19656361
23.  The Family Physician's Role in Preventing Early Termination of Breastfeeding 
Canadian Family Physician  1986;32:2162-2169.
Despite the high rate of breastfeeding among mothers as they leave the hospital, early termination of breastfeeding continues to be a problem. A new mother needs considerable education, support and, often, early intervention, not only to initiate breastfeeding successfully, but also to prevent breastfeeding problems occurring and to continue breastfeeding successfully for several months. Knowledgeable health-care providers are the key to promoting and protecting breastfeeding, yet in the community, many of these mothers, lacking the support of such knowledgeable advisers, often terminate early. Family physicians are in a key position to help the nursing dyad. This article looks at the role that family physicians can play in advising and helping mothers, and discusses the management of common breastfeeding difficulties.
PMCID: PMC2328239  PMID: 21267318
breastfeeding; preventing early termination of breastfeeding; managing breastfeeding difficulties
24.  Poisonous milk and sinful mothers: the changing meaning of breastfeeding in the wake of the HIV epidemic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 
Breastfeeding remains normative and vital for child survival in the developing world. However, knowledge of the risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) transmission through breastfeeding has brought to attention the controversy of whether breastfeeding can be safely practiced by HIV positive mothers. Prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) programs provide prevention services to HIV positive mothers including infant feeding counseling based on international guidelines. This study aimed at exploring infant feeding choices and how breastfeeding and the risk of HIV transmission through breastfeeding was interpreted among HIV positive mothers and their counselors in PMTCT programs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The study was conducted in the PMTCT clinics in two governmental hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, using qualitative interviews and participant observation. Twenty two HIV positive mothers and ten health professionals working in PMTCT clinics were interviewed.
The study revealed that HIV positive mothers have developed an immense fear of breast milk which is out of proportion compared to the evidence of risk of transmission documented. The fear is expressed through avoidance of breastfeeding or, if no other choice is available, through an intense unease with the breastfeeding situation, and through expressions of sin, guilt, blame and regret. Health professionals working in the PMTCT programs seemed to largely share the fear of HIV positive mother's breast milk, and their anxiety was reflected in the counseling services they provided. Formula feeding was the preferred infant feeding method, and was chosen also by HIV positive women who had to beg in the streets for survival.
The fear of breast milk that seems to have developed among counselors and HIV positive mothers in the wake of the HIV epidemic may challenge a well established breastfeeding culture and calls for public health action. Based on strong evidence of the risks when infants are not exclusively breastfed, there is a great need to protect breastfeeding from pressures of replacement feeding and to promote exclusive breastfeeding as the best infant feeding option for HIV positive and HIV negative mothers alike.
PMCID: PMC2978141  PMID: 20977711
25.  Is breastfeeding really invisible, or did the health care system just choose not to notice it? 
There are innumerable myths and misconceptions about breastfeeding that minimize its importance; these often keep health workers from providing effective care to support and protect breastfeeding. They are compounded by lack of basic and applied research, and by the cultural invisibility of breastfeeding in the United States. This paper highlights some of the blind spots and suggests the importance of an approach that places breastfeeding promotion and advocacy within the context of women's lives. As we work to ensure that the health care system provides good breastfeeding care, we need to guard against letting the medicalization of infant feeding keep us from remembering that breastfeeding is something that mothers and children do, in all the aspects of their private and public lives.
PMCID: PMC2516507  PMID: 18680580

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