Posts Tagged ‘ lactation support ’

Lactation Consultant Visits Found to Raise Breastfeeding Rates

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

New mothers are more likely to have success with breastfeeding–at least for a few months–if they have periodic meetings with lactation consultants who offer support, tips, and encouragement.  These are the findings of two different clinical trials conducted by Dr. Karen Bonuck at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  The results will be published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

In one of the two trials included in this paper, women who were strongly and regularly encouraged to breastfeed were more than four times likely to exclusively breastfeed their infant at one month and nearly three times more likely to do so at three months, compared with the control group.

However, neither of the two trials showed that women who received lactation support consistently met the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of their babies’ lives.  Bonuck said in a statement that despite this shortcoming, 95 percent of the women in the two trials at least initiated breastfeeding—which exceeds the goal of 82 percent that the CDC proposed in its Healthy People 2020 report.

The American Academy of Pediatrics touts health benefits of breastfeeding including reduced incidence of ear infections and stomach illness and lower obesity rates for children and, for mothers, a reduced risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Image: Breastfeeding mother, via Shutterstock

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Common Breastfeeding Myths
Common Breastfeeding Myths
Common Breastfeeding Myths

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Insurance Companies Slow to Provide Required Breastfeeding Services

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

The Affordable Care Act, which is at the center of the debate that’s brought Washington to a standstill this week, requires insurance companies to pay for breast pumps and lactation consulting services for new mothers, as part of a women’s health initiative that is meant to encourage breastfeeding.  As The New York Times reports, though, insurance companies aren’t getting the services to enough women since the new rules took effect January 1:

Despite the law, many new mothers have found it nearly impossible to get timely help for breast-feeding problems since Jan. 1, when health insurers began updating their coverage. While a 2011 Surgeon General’s report hailed lactation consultants as important specialists, few insurers have added them to their networks.

Some insurers simply point women to pediatricians not necessarily trained in lactation. Even then, women often must locate help on their own, leading to delays that jeopardize a mother’s milk supply.

Breast-feeding advocates fear this mandate is falling victim to bureaucratic foot-dragging, cost-saving and ambivalence.

“It’s abysmal, the state of lactation services being provided by insurance companies currently,” said Susanne Madden, a founder of the National Breastfeeding Center, which last month published an unsettling assessment of the breast-feeding policies of insurers nationwide. Twenty-eight out of 79 received D’s or F’s.

New mothers face a number of obstacles in breast-feeding, including insufficient milk or a painful infection. Problems must be resolved quickly: when a baby is hungry, there is little time to wrangle with an insurer over payment for a breast pump or a lactation consultant. A delay can mean that mothers turn to formula, don’t establish an adequate supply, or quit.

Image: Breastfeeding mother, via Shutterstock

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CDC: Hospitals Do Not Support Breastfeeding Enough

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report stating that 80 percent of American hospitals supplement breastfeeding with formula when not medically necessary, which undermines recommendations from the American Academy and Pediatrics, the CDC, and the World Health Organization, all of which encourage that mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of a baby’s life.

Fewer than 4 percent of American hospitals offer new mothers adequate support services to encourage breastfeeding, the report stated.  Many hospitals send mothers home with free samples of formula and bottles provided by formula makers, and many fail to maintain a lactation support staff to help mothers learn to breastfeed comfortably.  From Boston.com:

The report comes a day after the announcement of new federal guidelines that mandates insurance companies provide free breast pumps and lactation support to nursing mothers after they leave the hospital.

Breast milk, which is rich in antibodies, helps reduce the risk of childhood ear infections and diarrhea and has been linked to a lower risk of childhood obesity — possibly due to the nutritional content of the milk or the fact that breastfed infants are better able to self-regulate their intake compared with those fed from a bottle. Breastfeeding mothers enjoy a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

(image via: http://blessedmom.hubpages.com)

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