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1.  Supporting breastfeeding In Local Communities (SILC): protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial 
Background
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.
Methods/Design
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.
Discussion
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.
Trial registration
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-346
PMCID: PMC4287548  PMID: 25281300
Breastfeeding; Infant feeding; Randomised controlled trial; Early professional breastfeeding support; Local government; Maternal and child health; Postnatal; Community-based; Drop-in centre; Home visits
2.  Ringing Up about Breastfeeding: a randomised controlled trial exploring early telephone peer support for breastfeeding (RUBY) – trial protocol 
Background
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.
Design/Methods
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.
Discussion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-177
PMCID: PMC4068322  PMID: 24886264
Breastfeeding; Exclusive breastfeeding; Breastfeeding rates; Peer support; Telephone; Australia
3.  Prevalence and outcomes of breast milk expressing in women with healthy term infants: a systematic review 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-212
PMCID: PMC4225568  PMID: 24246046
4.  The role of micro-organisms (Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans) in the pathogenesis of breast pain and infection in lactating women: study protocol 
Background
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.
Methods/Design
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.
Discussion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-54
PMCID: PMC3151214  PMID: 21777483
5.  A systematic review of maternal obesity and breastfeeding intention, initiation and duration 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-9
PMCID: PMC1937008  PMID: 17608952

Results 1-5 (5)