Today, our authors will discuss recommendations for health care professionals and lactation consultants to help increase breastfeeding duration in our communities, as well as potential factors to study in future research projects. Each
author’s title and JHL research article can be found on the first article of this series: Round Table Discussion: Predictors of Breastfeeding Duration (Part One)
As breastfeeding advocates, what recommendations can you make for us to help increase breastfeeding duration in our communities?
Lucía Colodro Conde: Influences from factors related to breastfeeding duration should not be considered immutable. Researchers and practitioners should consider the social environment in which influential factors take place, as this may modulate its impact. Family structure, social support, norms about natural or artificial infant feeding,
working conditions, health promotion interventions, or hospital practices, among others, could moderate this interaction. Interventions should be adapted to the mother’s conditions as a whole, taking into account their personal and social characteristics and their social context. Interventions should start before childbirth and support and guidance should be readily available to those women who aim to breastfeed, taking into account their individuality and the characteristics of the communities.
- Culturally appropriate and practical information at earlier stage of pregnancy.
- Engage senior Aboriginal women to support younger women during pregnancy.
- The importance of involving peer support by members of the Aboriginal community, as well as professional support for this cultural group.
- Engage younger community mothers who have successfully breastfed to act as role models.
Pat Benton and Beth H. Olson: Even mothers who are intent on breastfeeding and
get support in the hospital, from family, or from programs like the BFI, indicate they do not find the environment outside their home to be supportive of breastfeeding-they even find it to be disapproving. Local breastfeeding coalitions where community partners (i.e., physicians, nurses, Lactation Consultants, business owners, etc.) come together to support breastfeeding have been successful in changing the community atmosphere regarding breastfeeding. Also, mothers find support groups/moms clubs, where they can go and share their experiences and receive support that breastfeeding is the natural way to feed
their babies, a great support system.
After completing your research, what additional factors would you like to see studied as predictors of breastfeeding duration?
Lucía Colodro Conde: At the moment, we have two lines of research about some factors that, according to preliminary studies, are related to breastfeeding duration and can help to understand and predict it. First, we want to focus on which part of this health behavior is due to differences in genetic configuration and differences in environmental factors among individuals. And second, we aim to analyze the relationships between
psychosocial and personality factors, and the establishment and duration of breastfeeding. We highly support the need of a multidisciplinary approach to this complex behavior.
Pippa Craig: Further explore psychological factors predicting breastfeeding duration. Introduce and evaluate more culturally acceptable pre-, peri and post-natal services for Aboriginal women.
Pat Benton and Beth H. Olson: We would like to see more work done with populations with low breastfeeding rates, to better understand their particular barriers
such that we might develop targeted support programs. We would also like to see more cost-effectiveness work done on breastfeeding and breastfeeding support that might help us impact public policy and private organizations so they improve breastfeeding support. Research suggests factors that impact breastfeeding in the first day(s) greatly diminish breastfeeding duration; we need to better understand how to provide support in the hospital and in the first days a mother is home with her new baby-including home visiting/follow up care for new mothers.