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In-Hospital Practice Essay

Decent Essays
After reviewing the literature, discuss the evidence regarding what in-hospital practices may impact on the initiation and duration of breastfeeding. Include in your discussion the role of the midwife.

Initiation and duration of breastfeeding can be affected through in-hospital practices. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that exclusive breastfeeding should occur until 6 months of age for the health benefits for both the mother and baby (Forster & McLachlan, 2007; WHO, 2014). In Australia, 80-90% of women initiate breastfeeding however duration drops with only around 14% of babies being exclusively breastfed at 6 months (Amir & Donath, 2008; Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2010; Forster, McLachlan & Lumley,
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The presence of staff has been strongly correlated with an increase in initiation and duration of breastfeeding (Amir et al., 2010). Staff in the antenatal and early postnatal period play an integral role in assisting mothers to initiate breastfeeding (Amir et al., 2010). During the postnatal period, duration of breastfeeding can be increased through providing positive support, problem solving and continual patient education (Brand et al., 2011). A barrier to a lack of support during the early postnatal time in hospitals is that there is a 1:8 ratio of midwife to woman/baby leading to a limit in time with women and therefore support in the critical early stages of initiation of breastfeeding (Amir et al., 2010; Kervin et al.,…show more content…
Evidence from high quality systematic reviews show that the strategies most likely to increase breastfeeding initiation incorporate mainly antenatal interventions. These include antenatal breastfeeding education and antenatal peer support programs as well as the postnatal intervention of promoting an increase in duration of early mother-infant contact (Amir et al., 2010; Brand et al., 2011). One of the main factors is maternal intention to breastfeed (Forster & McLachlan, 2007). Mothers with prenatal intention to breastfeed were more likely to have a longer duration of breastfeeding (Kervin et al., 2010). Research suggests that the decision to breastfeed is often made before falling pregnant or during the early stages of pregnancy (Forster & McLachlan, 2007). The role of the midwife at these points is to discuss the woman’s desire and intention to breastfeed and positively influence this decision by showing the benefits of breastfeeding (BFHI number 3) (Amir et al., 2010; Apostolakis-Kyrus, Valentine & DeFranco, 2013; Forster et al., 2006; Forster & McLachlan, 2007). Hospital education that includes hands on problem solving activities involving the partner and support network is evidenced to be more beneficial than pamphlets (Amir et al., 2010; Forster & McLachlan, 2007; Hunter & Cattelona, 2014). Despite the evidence of the importance of the role of the midwife in
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