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