Wednesday , February 1 2023

Study: Mothers at risk receive less support, information on breastfeeding



PICTURE: The University of Illinois Postdoctoral Research Group, Carolyn Sutter, found in a recent study that women at higher risk of breastfeeding may also have less access to resources …
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Certification: Photograph by L. Brian Stauffer

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Only mothers, those with less training and mothers enrolled in the Special Optional Diet Program for Women, Infants and Children – known as the WIC Program – can get less information and support with breastfeeding, according to a new study.

According to the study, Carolyn Sutter, a candidate for postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois, suggests that mothers most at risk of stopping breastfeeding may have access to fewer resources that provide useful information and support.

More than 440 young parents responded to an online survey on breastfeeding practices, breast pump use and infant feeding methods at six weeks postpartum. All women participated in Cooperative Theory and Research for the Obesity and Nutrition Team 2, better known as STRONG Kids 2, an ongoing child obesity prevention program run by the I Family Resilience Center.

"The STRONG Kids 2 program gathers many facts about breastfeeding and the different nutritional practices that mothers use, especially during the first year of infants," said Sutter. "In this initiative, I was interested in knowing where mothers get their information and support for the often demanding breastfeeding exercise, and how we can boost these resources or eradicate some of the barriers that mothers face. "

Despite the many documented benefits of breastfeeding, such as breastfeeding infants receiving antibodies that resist bacteria and viruses, and reduced risks of asthma and allergies, only half of US mothers breastfeed their infants during their first six months of life, according to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Nursing Reference Card.

Obstacles that discourage mothers from breastfeeding or expressing breast milk for infant feeding include physical complications such as poor milk supply and structural barriers such as the need for mothers to return to work.

Fewer than 70 percent of mothers in today's study were breastfed exclusively, while another 18 percent fed their child with a combination of breast milk and baby formula.

Women were asked if they had received information about breastfeeding and breast-feeding or supporting these practices from professional sources such as clinicians and breast cancer patients. educational and informational tools; relatives, friends and peers. their workplaces; and their childcare providers.

The majority of women in the study were mothers for the first time and 97% of these women reported receiving support from health care providers or other professionals to help them with breastfeeding. However, Sutter found that these mothers, along with WIC women, were less likely to breastfeed their infants, although WIC provides training material and assistance to mothers who do it.

"Despite receiving information and support at higher rates, the existence of a first parent was associated with reduced breastfeeding opportunities, as was the participation of WIC," said Sutter. "It is unclear whether the information and support is totally absent or if they do not echo with them in a meaningful way that supports breastfeeding practices due to inefficient delivery methods or increased stress levels of certain mothers."

More than 95% of breastfeeding mothers and 78% of mothers using breast pumps reported receiving information and support from professional sources. However, Sutter found that sources of information and support for mothers were linked to demographic differences.

For example, the first mothers reported that they received higher levels of support from professionals and friends and relatives than their previously born counterparts, Sutter found. As a result, women with a college or postgraduate degree, who were white and not enrolled in the WIC, were more likely to seek information from books, websites or other media.

While the advice of a trusted friend or relative may be beneficial, Sutter noted that interpersonal factors may be barriers, especially when family and community members provide false information to the new mother or when negative subjective rules in the community discourage breastfeeding.

To be effective, educational and informational material on infant feeding practices should be culturally sensitive and sensitive to the different forms of life for women, Sutter said. For example, mothers who have to return to work shortly after giving birth may find information about using breast pumps that are more useful to them than information about breastfeeding alone.

Sutter will present her findings at the annual conference of the National Council on Family Relations on 7 November in San Diego. The document was published recently in the magazine Nursing Hospital.


Barbara H. Fiese, director of the center and professor of human development and family studies, wrote the study along with Brent McBride, director of the children's development lab. nutrition scientist Sharon M. Donovan. and postgraduate students Alexandra Lundquist and Erin C. Davis.

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