The editor of International Breastfeeding Journal would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 9 (2014).
Background: Nipple pain and damage are common in the early postpartum period and are associated with early cessation of breastfeeding and comorbidities such as depression, anxiety, and mastitis. The incidence of nipple vasospasm has not been reported previously. This article describes nipple pain and damage prospectively in first-time mothers and explores the relationship between method of birth and nipple pain and/or damage.
Subjects and Methods: A prospective cohort of 360 primiparous women was recruited in Melbourne, Australia, in the interval 2009–2011, and after birth participants were followed up six times. The women completed a questionnaire about breastfeeding practices and problems at each time point. Pain scores were graphically represented using spaghetti plots to display each woman's experience of pain over the 8 weeks of the study.
Results: After birth, before they were discharged home from hospital, 79% (250/317) of the women in this study reported nipple pain. Over the 8 weeks of the study 58% (198/336) of women reported nipple damage, and 23% (73/323) reported vasospasm. At 8 weeks postpartum 8% (27/340) of women continued to report nipple damage, and 20% (68/340) were still experiencing nipple pain. Ninety-four percent (320/340) of the women were breastfeeding at the end of the study, and there was no correlation between method of birth and nipple pain and/or damage.
Conclusions: Nipple pain is a common problem for new mothers in Australia and often persists for several weeks. Further studies are needed to establish the most effective means of preventing and treating breastfeeding problems in the postnatal period.
On a regular basis there is an outcry about a mother who has been told to cover up or move away from a public area while she is breastfeeding. Mothers should feel free to breastfeed whenever they need to. However, the increasing market for “nursing covers” to hide the breast while feeding is evidence of changing perceptions. Discomfort with the idea of breastfeeding in public has been cited as a reason for some women choosing not to initiate breastfeeding or planning a shorter duration of breastfeeding. Other women are choosing to express and bottle-feed their expressed milk when they are in public. In many cultures today there is a conflict between the concept of breast milk being pure (like tears), and contaminated or “dirty” (like genital secretions or vomit). In these settings the female breast may be considered primarily a sexual organ, and therefore a private part of the body, which needs to be invisible in the public arena. In order to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration and to reduce health inequities breastfeeding needs to be more visible. Let’s strive together to make breastfeeding in public unremarkable.
Breastfeeding in public; Public perception; Determinants of breastfeeding
Lactation and breast milk can hold great value and meaning for grieving mothers who have experienced a recent death of an infant. Donation to a human milk bank (HMB) as an alternative to discarding breast milk is one means of respecting the value of breast milk. There is little research, national policy discussion, or organizational representation in Australia on the subject of breast milk donation after infant death. On 29 November 2013 the Mercy Hospital for Women in Melbourne, Australia hosted Australia’s first National Stakeholder Meeting (NSM) on the topic of milk donation after neonatal death. The NSM drew together representatives from Australian HMBs, neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) currently using donor human milk, and Australia’s chief NICU parent support organization. The NSM was video-recorded and transcribed, and analyzed thematically by researchers. This article reports the seven dominant themes discussed by stakeholders during the NSM: the spectrum of women’s lactation and donation experiences after infant death; the roles of the HMB and NICU in meeting the needs of the bereaved donor; how bereaved mothers’ lactation autonomy may interface with a HMB’s donation guidelines; how milk donation may be discussed with bereaved mothers; the variation between four categories of milk donation after neonatal death; the impact of limited resources and few HMBs on providing donation programs for bereaved mothers in Australia. This article provides evidence from researchers and practitioners that can assist HMB staff in refining their bank’s policy on milk donation after infant death, and provides national policy makers with key considerations to support lactation, human milk banking, and bereavement services nation-wide.
Breast milk donation; Infant death; Bereavement; Human milk bank; Neonatal intensive care
Many maternity providers recommend that women with diabetes in pregnancy express and store breast milk in late pregnancy so breast milk is available after birth, given (1) infants of these women are at increased risk of hypoglycaemia in the first 24 h of life; and (2) the delay in lactogenesis II compared with women without diabetes that increases their infant's risk of receiving infant formula. The Diabetes and Antenatal Milk Expressing (DAME) trial will establish whether advising women with diabetes in pregnancy (pre-existing or gestational) to express breast milk from 36 weeks gestation increases the proportion of infants who require admission to special or neonatal intensive care units (SCN/NICU) compared with infants of women receiving standard care. Secondary outcomes include birth gestation, breastfeeding outcomes and economic impact.
Methods and analysis
Women will be recruited from 34 weeks gestation to a multicentre, two arm, unblinded randomised controlled trial. The intervention starts at 36 weeks. Randomisation will be stratified by site, parity and diabetes type. Women allocated to the intervention will be taught expressing and encouraged to hand express twice daily for 10 min and keep an expressing diary. The sample size of 658 (329 per group) will detect a 10% difference in proportion of babies admitted to SCN/NICU (85% power, α 0.05). Data are collected at recruitment (structured questionnaire), after birth (abstracted from medical record blinded to group), and 2 and 12 weeks postpartum (telephone interview). Data analysis: the intervention group will be compared with the standard care group by intention to treat analysis, and the primary outcome compared using χ2 and ORs.
Ethics and dissemination
Research ethics approval will be obtained from participating sites. Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented to clinicians, policymakers and study participants.
Trial registration number
Australian Controlled Trials Register ACTRN12611000217909.
NEONATOLOGY; NUTRITION & DIETETICS
Breastfeeding is associated with significant positive health outcomes for mothers and infants. However, despite recommendations from the World Health Organization, exclusive breastfeeding for six months is uncommon. Increased breastfeeding support early in the postpartum period may be effective in improving breastfeeding maintenance. This trial will evaluate two community-based interventions to increase breastfeeding duration in Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Victoria, Australia.
A three-arm cluster randomised controlled trial design will be used. Victorian LGAs with a lower than average rate of any breastfeeding at discharge from hospital and more than 450 births per year that agree to participate will be randomly allocated to one of three trial arms: 1) standard care; 2) home-based breastfeeding support; or 3) home-based breastfeeding support plus access to a community-based breastfeeding drop-in centre. The services provided in LGAs allocated to ‘standard care’ are those routinely available to postpartum women. LGAs allocated to the home-based visiting intervention will provide home-visits to women who are identified as at risk of breastfeeding cessation in the early postnatal period. These visits will be provided by Maternal and Child Health Nurses who have received training to provide the intervention (SILC-MCHNs). In areas allocated to receive the second intervention, in addition to home-based breastfeeding support, community breastfeeding drop-in centres will be made available, staffed by a SILC-MCHN. The interventions will run in LGAs for a nine to twelve month period depending on birth numbers. The primary outcome is the proportion of infants receiving any breast milk at four months of age. Breastfeeding outcomes will be obtained from routinely collected Maternal and Child Health centre data and from a new data item collecting infant feeding ‘in the last 24 hours’. Information will also be obtained directly from women via a postal survey. A comprehensive process evaluation will be conducted.
This study will determine if early home-based breastfeeding support by a health professional for women at risk of stopping breastfeeding, with or without access to a community-based breastfeeding drop-in centre, increases breastfeeding duration in Victorian LGAs with low breastfeeding rates.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12611000898954.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-346) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Breastfeeding; Infant feeding; Randomised controlled trial; Early professional breastfeeding support; Local government; Maternal and child health; Postnatal; Community-based; Drop-in centre; Home visits
Postnatal common mental disorders among women are an important public health problem internationally. Interventions to prevent postnatal depression have had limited success. What Were We Thinking (WWWT) is a structured, gender-informed, psychoeducational group programme for parents and their first infant that addresses two modifiable risks to postnatal mental health. This paper describes the protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial to test the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of WWWT when implemented in usual primary care.
Methods and analysis
48 maternal and child health (MCH) centres from six diverse Local Government Areas, in Victoria, Australia are randomly allocated to the intervention group (usual care plus WWWT) or the control group (usual care). The required sample size is 184 women in each group. English-speaking primiparous women receiving postpartum healthcare in participating MCH centres complete two computer-assisted telephone interviews: baseline at 4 weeks and outcome at 6 months postpartum. Women attending intervention MCH centres are invited to attend WWWT in addition to usual care. The primary outcome is meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) diagnostic criteria for major depressive episode; generalised anxiety disorder; panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, agoraphobia with or without panic, social phobia, adult separation anxiety or adjustment disorder with depressed mood, anxiety or mixed depressed mood and anxiety within the past 30 days at 6 months postpartum. Secondary outcomes are self-rated general and emotional health, infant sleep problems, method of infant feeding, quality of mother–infant relationship and intimate partner relationship, and healthcare costs and outcomes.
Ethics and dissemination
Approval to conduct the study has been granted. A comprehensive dissemination plan has been devised.
Trial registration number
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12613000506796.
MENTAL HEALTH; PRIMARY CARE; PREVENTIVE MEDICINE; PUBLIC HEALTH
Clinical trials, systematic reviews and guidelines compare beneficial and non-beneficial outcomes following interventions. Often, however, various studies on a particular topic do not address the same outcomes, making it difficult to draw clinically useful conclusions when a group of studies is looked at as a whole. This problem was recently thrown into sharp focus by a systematic review of interventions for preterm birth prevention, which found that among 103 randomised trials, no fewer than 72 different outcomes were reported. There is a growing recognition among clinical researchers that this variability undermines consistent synthesis of the evidence, and that what is needed is an agreed standardised collection of outcomes - a "core outcomes set" - for all trials in a specific clinical area. Recognising that the current inconsistency is a serious hindrance to progress in our specialty, the editors of over 50 journals related to women's health have come together to support The CROWN (CoRe Outcomes in WomeN's health) Initiative.
Research design/standards; Treatment outcome; Endpoint determination/standards; Clinical trials; Systematic reviews; Guidelines; Bias (Epidemiology); Evidence-based medicine; Consensus
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.
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12612001024831.
Breastfeeding; Exclusive breastfeeding; Breastfeeding rates; Peer support; Telephone; Australia
Expressing breast milk has become increasingly prevalent, particularly in some developed countries. Concurrently, breast pumps have evolved to be more sophisticated and aesthetically appealing, adapted for domestic use, and have become more readily available. In the past, expressed breast milk feeding was predominantly for those infants who were premature, small or unwell; however it has become increasingly common for healthy term infants. The aim of this paper is to systematically explore the literature related to breast milk expressing by women who have healthy term infants, including the prevalence of breast milk expressing, reported reasons for, methods of, and outcomes related to, expressing.
Databases (Medline, CINAHL, JSTOR, ProQuest Central, PsycINFO, PubMed and the Cochrane library) were searched using the keywords milk expression, breast milk expression, breast milk pumping, prevalence, outcomes, statistics and data, with no limit on year of publication. Reference lists of identified papers were also examined. A hand-search was conducted at the Australian Breastfeeding Association Lactation Resource Centre. Only English language papers were included. All papers about expressing breast milk for healthy term infants were considered for inclusion, with a focus on the prevalence, methods, reasons for and outcomes of breast milk expression.
A total of twenty two papers were relevant to breast milk expression, but only seven papers reported the prevalence and/or outcomes of expressing amongst mothers of well term infants; all of the identified papers were published between 1999 and 2012. Many were descriptive rather than analytical and some were commentaries which included calls for more research, more dialogue and clearer definitions of breastfeeding. While some studies found an association between expressing and the success and duration of breastfeeding, others found the opposite. In some cases these inconsistencies were compounded by imprecise definitions of breastfeeding and breast milk feeding.
There is limited evidence about the prevalence and outcomes of expressing breast milk amongst mothers of healthy term infants. The practice of expressing breast milk has increased along with the commercial availability of a range of infant feeding equipment. The reasons for expressing have become more complex while the outcomes, when they have been examined, are contradictory.
To investigate Candida species and Staphylococcus aureus and the development of ‘nipple and breast thrush’ among breastfeeding women.
Prospective longitudinal cohort study.
Two hospitals in Melbourne, Australia (one public, one private) with follow-up in the community.
360 nulliparous women recruited at ≥36 weeks’ gestation from November 2009 to June 2011. Participants were followed up six times: in hospital, at home weekly until 4 weeks postpartum and by telephone at 8 weeks.
Main outcome measures
Case definition ‘nipple and breast thrush’: burning nipple pain and breast pain (not related to mastitis); detection of Candida spp (using culture and PCR) in the mother's vagina, nipple or breast milk or in the baby's mouth; detection of S aureus in the mother's nipple or breast milk.
Women with the case definition of nipple/breast thrush were more likely to have Candida spp in nipple/breast milk/baby oral samples (54%) compared to other women (36%, p=0.014). S aureus was common in nipple/breast milk/baby samples of women with these symptoms as well as women without these symptoms (82% vs 79%) (p=0.597). Time-to-event analysis examined predictors of nipple/breast thrush up to and including the time of data collection. Candida in nipple/breast milk/baby predicted incidence of the case definition (rate ratio (RR) 1.87 (95% CI 1.10 to 3.16, p=0.018). We do not have evidence that S aureus colonisation was a predictor of these symptoms (RR 1.53, 95% CI 0.88 to 2.64, p=0.13). Nipple damage was also a predictor of these symptoms, RR 2.30 (95% CI 1.19 to 4.43, p=0.012). In the multivariate model, with all three predictors, the RRs were very similar to the univariate RRs. This indicates that Candida and nipple damage are independent predictors of our case definition.
Breastfeeding women often need to take medicines, and therefore health professionals need to consider the effects of medication on lactation and the breastfed infant, and any associated risks. This commentary discusses the tragic case of a young woman with a history of mental illness who committed suicide in the postpartum period. She was determined to be a 'good mother' and breastfeed, and to avoid any potential adverse effects of medication on her breastfed infant. The final outcome was fatal for both mother and child. We argue that if women require medication during lactation, all risks need to be considered – the risk of not treating the maternal medical condition may greatly outweigh the potential risk to the breastfed infant.
Breastfeeding; Lactation; Medication; Side-effect; Risk; Maternal health; Postpartum
The perceived risk/benefit balance of prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, as well as complementary therapies, will significantly impact on an individual’s decision-making to use medicine. For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, this weighing of risks and benefits becomes immensely more complex because they are considering the effect on two bodies rather than one. Indeed the balance may lie in opposite directions for the mother and baby/fetus. The aim of this paper is to generate a discussion that focuses on the complexity around risk, responsibility and decision-making of medicine use by pregnant and breastfeeding women. We will also consider the competing discourses that pregnant and breastfeeding women encounter when making decisions about medicine.
Women rely not only on biomedical information and the expert knowledge of their health care professionals but on their own experiences and cultural understandings as well. When making decisions about medicines, pregnant and breastfeeding women are influenced by their families, partners and their cultural societal norms and expectations. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are influenced by a number of competing discourses. “Good” mothers should manage and avoid any risks, thereby protecting their babies from harm and put their children’s needs before their own – they should not allow toxins to enter the body. On the other hand, “responsible” women take and act on medical advice – they should take the medicine as directed by their health professional. This is the inherent conflict in medicine use for maternal bodies.
The increased complexity involved when one body’s actions impact the body of another – as in the pregnant and lactating body – has received little acknowledgment. We consider possibilities for future research and methodologies. We argue that considering the complexity of issues for maternal bodies can improve our understanding of risk and public health education.
The CASTLE (Candida and Staphylococcus Transmission: Longitudinal Evaluation) study will investigate the micro-organisms involved in the development of mastitis and "breast thrush" among breastfeeding women. To date, the organism(s) associated with the development of breast thrush have not been identified. The CASTLE study will also investigate the impact of physical health problems and breastfeeding problems on maternal psychological health in the early postpartum period.
The CASTLE study is a longitudinal descriptive study designed to investigate the role of Staphylococcus spp (species) and Candida spp in breast pain and infection among lactating women, and to describe the transmission dynamics of S. aureus and Candida spp between mother and infant. The relationship between breastfeeding and postpartum health problems as well as maternal psychological well-being is also being investigated. A prospective cohort of four hundred nulliparous women who are at least thirty six weeks gestation pregnant are being recruited from two hospitals in Melbourne, Australia (November 2009 to June 2011). At recruitment, nasal, nipple (both breasts) and vaginal swabs are taken and participants complete a questionnaire asking about previous known staphylococcal and candidal infections. Following the birth, participants are followed-up six times: in hospital and then at home weekly until four weeks postpartum. Participants complete a questionnaire at each time points to collect information about breastfeeding problems and postpartum health problems. Nasal and nipple swabs and breast milk samples are collected from the mother. Oral and nasal swabs are collected from the baby. A telephone interview is conducted at eight weeks postpartum to collect information about postpartum health problems and breastfeeding problems, such as mastitis and nipple and breast pain.
This study is the first longitudinal study of the role of both staphylococcal and candidal colonisation in breast infections and will help to resolve the current controversy about which is the primary organism in the condition known as breast thrush. This study will also document transmission dynamics of S. aureus and Candida spp between mother and infant. In addition, CASTLE will investigate the impact of common maternal physical health symptoms and the effect of breastfeeding problems on maternal psychological well-being.
Clinicians, public health advisors, nutritionists and others have been attempting to increase breastfeeding rates for the last few decades, with varying degrees of success. We need social science researchers to help us understand the role of infant feeding in the family. Some researchers in the area of food and nutrition have found Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical framework helpful. In this editorial, I introduce some of Bourdieu's ideas and suggest researchers interested in infant feeding should consider testing these theories.
Many breastfeeding women seek medical care from general practitioners (GPs) for various health problems and GPs may consider prescribing medicines in these consultations. Prescribing medicines to a breastfeeding mother may lead to untimely cessation of breastfeeding or a breastfeeding mother may be denied medicines due to the possible risk to her infant, both of which may lead to unwanted consequences. Information on factors governing GPs' decision-making and their views in such situations is limited.
GPs providing shared maternity care at the Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne were surveyed using an anonymous postal survey to determine their knowledge, attitudes and practices on medicines and breastfeeding, in 2007/2008 (n = 640). Content analysis of their response to a question concerning decision-making about the use of medicine for a breastfeeding woman was conducted. A thematic network was constructed with basic, organising and global themes.
335 (52%) GPs responded to the survey, and 253 (76%) provided information on the last time they had to decide about the use of medicine for a breastfeeding woman. Conditions reported were mastitis (24%), other infections (24%) and depressive disorders (21%). The global theme that emerged was "complexity of managing risk in prescribing for breastfeeding women". The organising themes were: certainty around decision-making; uncertainty around decision-making; need for drug information to be available, consistent and reliable; joint decision-making; the vulnerable "third party" and infant feeding decision. Decision-making is a spectrum from a straight forward decision, such as treatment of mastitis, to a complicated one requiring multiple inputs and consideration. GPs use more information seeking and collaboration in decision-making when they perceive the problem to be more complex, for example, in postnatal depression.
GPs feel that prescribing medicines for breastfeeding women is a contentious issue. They manage the risk of prescribing by gathering information and assessing the possible effects on the breastfed infant. Without evidence-based information, they sometimes recommend cessation of breastfeeding unnecessarily.
Jane Scott and colleagues have recently published a paper in the International Breastfeeding Journal showing that health professionals are still giving harmful advice to women with mastitis. We see the management of mastitis as an illustration of health professionals' management of wider breastfeeding issues. If health professionals don't know how to manage this common problem, how can they be expected to manage less common conditions such as a breast abscess or nipple/breast candidiasis? There is an urgent need for more clinical research into breastfeeding problems and to improve the education of health professionals to enable them to promote breastfeeding and support breastfeeding women.
The Breastfeeding Education and Support Services (BESS) is a unit of The Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, staffed by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), providing day/short-stay and an outpatient clinic for mothers and infants with breastfeeding problems. It is important to measure women's experience of visiting the service as part of quality assurance. The aim of this project was to conduct an anonymous postal survey of clients' satisfaction with BESS.
An anonymous survey was posted on 16 November 2005 and again on 31 January 2006, to all women who had attended BESS in September 2005.
The response rate was 60.5% (78/129). Eighty percent (62/78) of respondents attended day-stay, 33% (26/78) attended short-stay and 15% (12/78) attended the outpatient clinic. The percentage of women who responded "strongly agree" to the statement "Overall, I am satisfied with the services" was 49% (35/72) and 50% (6/12) for those who went to day/short-stay and the outpatient clinic respectively. Overall, 56% of all respondents responded that the quality of BESS was "better than expected". The most common breastfeeding problem reported was difficulty attaching the baby to the breast, followed by nipple damage, low milk supply and painful feeding.
BESS seems to have provided a satisfactory service to most clients. Most respondents were clearly satisfied with the support given by the IBCLCs and have also responded that the staff were professional and knowledgeable in their field of work.
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.
Breastfeeding behaviour is multifactorial, and a wide range of socio-cultural and physiological variables impact on a woman's decision and ability to breastfeed successfully. An association has been reported between maternal obesity and low breastfeeding rates. This is of public health concern because obesity is rising in women of reproductive age and the apparent association with increased artificial feeding will lead to a greater risk of obesity in children. The aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between maternal overweight and obesity and breastfeeding intention and initiation and duration.
A systematic review was conducted in January and February 2007, using the following databases: Medline, CINAHL and the Australian Breastfeeding Association's Lactation Resource Centre. Studies which have examined maternal obesity and infant feeding intention, initiation, duration and delayed onset of lactation were tabulated and summarised.
Studies have found that obese women plan to breastfeed for a shorter period than normal weight women and are less likely to initiate breastfeeding. Of the four studies that examined onset of lactation, three reported a significant relationship between obesity and delayed lactogenesis. Fifteen studies, conducted in the USA, Australia, Denmark, Kuwait and Russia, have examined maternal obesity and duration of breastfeeding. The majority of large studies found that obese women breastfed for a shorter duration than normal weight women, even after adjusting for possible confounding factors.
There is evidence from epidemiological studies that overweight and obese women are less likely to breastfeed than normal weight women. The reasons may be biological or they may be psychological, behavioral and/or cultural. We urgently need qualitative studies from women's perspective to help us understand women in this situation and their infant feeding decisions and behaviour.
Mastitis is one of the most common problems experienced by women who are breastfeeding. Mastitis is an inflammation of breast tissue, which may or may not result from infection. The aims of this paper are to compare rates of mastitis in primiparous women receiving public hospital care (standard or birth centre) and care in a co-located private hospital, and to use multivariate analysis to explore other factors related to mastitis.
Data from two studies (a randomised controlled trial [RCT] and a survey) have been combined. The RCT (Attachment to the Breast and Family Attitudes to Breastfeeding, ABFAB) which was designed to test whether breastfeeding education in mid-pregnancy could increase breastfeeding duration recruited public patients at the Royal Women's Hospital at 18–20 weeks gestation. A concurrent survey recruited women planning to give birth in the Family Birth Centre (at 36 weeks gestation) and women in the postnatal wards of Frances Perry House (private hospital). All women were followed up by telephone at 6 months postpartum. Mastitis was defined as at least 2 breast symptoms (pain, redness or lump) AND at least one of fever or flu-like symptoms.
The 6 month telephone interview was completed by 1193 women. Breastfeeding rates at 6 months were 77% in Family Birth Centre, 63% in Frances Perry House and 53% in ABFAB. Seventeen percent (n = 206) of women experienced mastitis. Family Birth Centre and Frances Perry House women were more likely to develop mastitis (23% and 24%) than women in ABFAB (15%); adjusted odds ratio (Adj OR) ~1.9. Most episodes occurred in the first 4 weeks postpartum: 53% (194/365). Nipple damage was also associated with mastitis (Adj OR 1.7, 95% CI, 1.14, 2.56). We found no association between breastfeeding duration and mastitis.
The prevention and improved management of nipple damage could potentially reduce the risk of lactating women developing mastitis.
Trial registration (ABFAB): Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN21556494
Despite current scientific evidence that artificial feeding is a harmful practice, unquestioned acceptance of breastfeeding as the normal or "default" method of infant feeding remains elusive in the industrialised world. Throughout the developing world the profound consequences of the aggressive marketing strategies of the infant formula industry since the end of the Second World War is well known. A key objective of the International Breastfeeding Journal is to promote breastfeeding through addressing issues that encourage breastfeeding initiation, duration and effective management. Informing this aim is the recognition of artificial feeding as a harmful practice that places infant health at risk. From this perspective it would be unethical for this journal to accept for publication any manuscript that has received funding, sponsorship or any other means of support from infant formula manufacturers. This stance is consistent with the journal's aim of supporting, protecting and promoting breastfeeding. It will also contribute to the promotion of a breastfeeding culture.
Mastitis is a common problem for breastfeeding women. Researchers have called for an investigation into the possible role of maternal nasal carriage of S. aureus in the causation of mastitis in breastfeeding women.
The aim of the study was to investigate the role of maternal S. aureus nasal carriage in mastitis. Other factors such as infant nasal S. aureus carriage, nipple damage, maternal fatigue and oversupply of milk were also investigated. A case-control design was used. Women with mastitis (cases, n = 100) were recruited from two maternity hospitals in Melbourne, Australia (emergency departments, breastfeeding clinics and postnatal wards). Breastfeeding women without mastitis (controls, n = 99) were recruited from maternal and child health (community) centres and the rooms of a private obstetrician. Women completed a questionnaire and nasal specimens were collected from mother and baby and placed in charcoal transport medium. Women also collected a small sample of milk in a sterile jar.
There was no difference between nasal carriage of S. aureus in breastfeeding women with mastitis (42/98, 43%) and control women (45/98, 46%). However, significantly more infants of mothers with mastitis were nasal carriers of S. aureus (72/88, 82%) than controls (52/93, 56%). The association was strong (adjusted OR 3.23, 95%CI 1.30, 8.27) after adjustment for the following confounding factors: income, private health insurance, difficulty with breastfeeding, nipple damage and tight bra. There was also a strong association between nipple damage and mastitis (adjusted OR 9.34, 95%CI 2.99, 29.20).
We found no association between maternal nasal carriage of S. aureus and mastitis, but nasal carriage in the infant was associated with breast infections. As in other studies of mastitis, we found a strong association between nipple damage and mastitis. Prevention of nipple damage is likely to reduce the incidence of infectious mastitis. Mothers need good advice about optimal attachment of the baby to the breast and access to skilled help in the early postpartum days and weeks.
About 3% of infants are born with a tongue-tie which may lead to breastfeeding problems such as ineffective latch, painful attachment or poor weight gain. The Hazelbaker Assessment Tool for Lingual Frenulum Function (HATLFF) has been developed to give a quantitative assessment of the tongue-tie and recommendation about frenotomy (release of the frenulum). The aim of this study was to assess the inter-rater reliability of the HATLFF.
Fifty-eight infants referred to the Breastfeeding Education and Support Services (BESS) at The Royal Women's Hospital for assessment of tongue-tie and 25 control infants were assessed by two clinicians independently.
The Appearance items received kappas between about 0.4 to 0.6, which represents "moderate" reliability. The first three Function items (lateralization, lift and extension of tongue) had kappa values over 0.65 which indicates "substantial" agreement. The four Function items relating to infant sucking (spread, cupping, peristalsis and snapback) received low kappa values with insignificant p values. There was 96% agreement between the two assessors on the recommendation for frenotomy (kappa 0.92, excellent agreement). The study found that the Function Score can be more simply assessed using only the first three function items (ie not scoring the sucking items), with a cut-off of ≤4 for recommendation of frenotomy.
We found that the HATLFF has a high reliability in a study of infants with tongue-tie and control infants
International Breastfeeding Journal is a new open access peer-reviewed journal with a multidisciplinary focus. The aim of International Breastfeeding Journal is to contribute to understanding all aspects of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is recognized as an important public health issue with enormous social and economic implications. In order to help women breastfeed successfully there is a need to understand both the physiology of lactation and the social and cultural context within which breastfeeding occurs. International Breastfeeding Journal invites manuscripts from around the world, which address all of these aspects, including the impediments to breastfeeding, the health effects of not breastfeeding for infants and their mothers, and the management of breastfeeding problems.