Which interventions are most effective to promote exclusive breastfeeding?
Only about 37% of babies around the world are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). The benefits of breastfeeding for both infants and mothers are well-established. The effectiveness of different types of interventions for promoting exclusive breastfeeding in high-income countries is the focus of a Review article published in Breastfeeding Medicine.
Most interventions designed to encourage women to breastfeed use supportive or educational approaches, with varying levels of success, according to study authors Helen Skouteris and colleagues from Deakin University and University of Melbourne (Melbourne, Australia), and Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds, UK).
In the article "Interventions Designed to Promote Exclusive Breastfeeding in High-Income Countries: A Systematic Review" the authors evaluate the effectiveness of different interventions, comparing prenatal and postnatal approaches, the duration of the interventions, and identify whether they focus on educating mothers or providing emotional support.
"The search for successful interventions that promote the international goal of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life has been continual but inconclusive," says Ruth Lawrence, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine. "Authors Helen Skouteris and colleagues in their extensive review point out that a trial of more support and interventions in the postpartum period may be critical to solving this issue."