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Acta Paediatr. 2004 Aug;93(8):1108-14.

Home breastfeeding support by health professionals: findings of a randomized controlled trial in a population of Italian women.

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Agency for Public Health of Lazio Region, Rome, Italy.



We conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a support intervention delivered by health professionals to increase the rate and duration of breastfeeding.


A randomized controlled intervention study was conducted in the period 2000-2001 among 605 mothers who had given birth in a public maternity ward located in the city of Rome, Italy. The intervention consisted of a home visit by a midwife from the maternity ward of the hospital. The outcome of the study was the infant's feeding habits, assessed by a 24-h recall. The effect of the intervention on the duration of breastfeeding was estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method and by the Cox multivariate regression model.


According to intention-to-treat analysis, there was no significant difference between the intervention and the control group, after controlling for confounding factors (hazard ratio (HR) 1.04; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.85-1.26). The duration of breastfeeding was shorter (HR 1.61; 95% CI: 1.13-2.31) for women in the intervention group who refused the obstetric visit.


Our study shows that an early home support programme delivered by health professionals was not effective in increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration.

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