Walter Santoro Júnior, Francisco Eulógio Martinez
J Pediatr (Rio J). 2007;83(6):541-546
Objective: To describe an intervention to provide support and encouragement to mothers of preterm newborns and to evaluate its effect on breastfeeding rates in the first 6 months after hospital discharge.
Methods: One hundred newborns and their mothers were selected consecutively and prospectively according to order of birth. The mother-infant dyads were alternately assigned to one of two groups: one group received routine care (routine group), and the other group received the intervention (intervention group). The intervention consisted of individualized support in addition to the routine support provided in the Neonatology Service. Before delivery, one of the researchers was introduced to the mother and offered her information about the delivery. The researcher was also present at delivery, made an early visit to the infant in the intensive care unit, provided constant support for the mother to express breast milk and to maintain lactation, gave the mother information about maternal and infant hospital discharge, and provided outpatient follow-up after discharge.
Results: Thirty-six dyads completed the study. The characteristics of mothers and infants, as well as causes of exclusion, were similar in the two groups. In the routine group, 38.9% of the infants were being breastfed at hospital discharge, and median breastfeeding duration was 54 days. In the intervention group, 80.5% were being breastfed at discharge, and median breastfeeding duration was 91 days (p<0.01).
Conclusions: Simple support measures offered to mothers during hospitalization and outpatient follow-up had a very positive effect on breastfeeding rates.