Perhaps most significant, in-hospital formula feeding dramatically reduced the likelihood of later fully breastfeeding as well as any breastfeeding, even after adjusting for the strength of the mothers' intention to continue these practices. Early formula use nearly doubled the risk of formula use from the first to the second month and nearly tripled the risk of ending all breastfeeding by the end of the second month.
The study also found that breastfeeding deterrence was dose dependent. In other words, the more formula given to babies during their hospital stay, the less likely the mother would continue breastfeeding. This is the first time researchers have found a relationship between in-hospital formula doses and breastfeeding behavior.
Mothers indicated a number of reasons for giving their babies formula in the hospital. Many thought they weren't producing enough milk. Some thought their babies weren't getting enough nutrition or were not latching on properly. Chantry notes that sometimes formula is medically necessary and research is needed to better understand how to minimize its negative effects on breastfeeding.
Chantry believes this research highlights the value of The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding evidence-based guidelines to help mothers breastfeed. These include educating women about the benefits of breastfeeding, teaching them how to breastfeed and limiting formula use unless medically necessary.
"These results underline the importance of providing comprehensive support for women who wish to breastfeed," says Chantry. "Doctors and nurses must be trained to help, and lactation consultants must be readily available. We need to do more to help mothers overcome breastfeeding obstacles and limit formula use."
Breastfeeding exclusively rather than using infant formula is recommended for the first six months after birth by the American Academy o
|Contact: Tricia Tomiyoshi|
University of California - Davis Health System