Breastfeeding Initiation and Birth Setting Practices: A Review of the Literature

Forster DA, McLachlan HL.
J Midwifery Womens Health. 2007 May-Jun;52(3):273-80.


A number of practices during the intrapartum and very early postnatal period may affect breastfeeding initiation. All women should be encouraged to breastfeed soon after birth, with extra attention paid to the identification and offer of extra support for those women at higher risk of not successfully initiating and continuing breastfeeding.

Factors that affect breastfeeding initiation include: implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding at a service level; avoidance of the use of intramuscular narcotic analgesia, particularly near the end of the first stage of labour; not separating mothers and babies after birth for routine procedures; and placing healthy newborns on their mothers’ chest/abdomen (skin-to-skin) routinely. Single strategies are unlikely to increase breastfeeding initiation as stand-alone measures.

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