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Am J Public Health. 1994 January; 84(1): 89–97.
PMCID: PMC1614910

Infant feeding policies in maternity wards and their effect on breast-feeding success: an analytical overview.


OBJECTIVES. The purpose of this review is to examine the plausibility of a causal relationship between maternity ward practices and lactation success. METHODS. Studies were located with MEDLINE, from our personal files, and by contacting researchers working in this field. Of the 65 studies originally reviewed, 18 met our inclusion criteria (i.e., hospital-based intervention, experimental design with randomization procedures, or quasi-experimental design with adequate documentation). RESULTS. Meta-analysis indicated that commercial discharge packs had an adverse effect on lactation performance. The impact of early mother-infant contact on lactation success was unclear. Rooming-in and breast-feeding guidance in a rooming-in context had a beneficial impact on breast-feeding among primiparae. Breast-feeding on demand was positively associated with lactation success. In-hospital formula supplementation of 48 mL per day was not associated with poor breast-feeding performance. CONCLUSIONS. Hospital-based breast-feeding interventions can have a beneficial effect on lactation success, particularly among primiparous women.

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