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Community doulas can be a big help for mother-baby relationships
Date:5/7/2014

mpared with 50 percent of the mothers in the control group. The mothers with doulas were also nearly twice as likely to continue breastfeeding longer than six weeks, Hans found in the November 2013 study. Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce infections and childhood obesity.

"The doulas were present in the first moments after the birth to encourage mothers to put the infant to breast and to help the infants latch," Hans wrote in the Pediatrics article, "Breastfeeding and Complementary Food: Randomized Trial of Community Doula Home Visiting." That study also showed that the women were less likely to introduce solid food earlier than recommended for their babies.

Hans and her team also wrote about the value of community doulas and the possible reasons for their success in creating positive mother-baby relationships in "Promoting Positive Mother-Infant Relationships: A Randomized Trial of Community Doula Support for Young Mothers," published in August 2013 in the Infant Mental Health Journal.

"Throughout their time together, doulas focus on helping the mother understand the meaning of her baby's behavior and see things from her baby's perspective. The doulas always model gentle handling of the baby, and provide guidance to the mothers on responding effectively to the baby's cues," Hans wrote.

Although the benefits faded after a year, Hans suggested that a sustained period of home visiting could effectively build on the work of community doulas. She is working to evaluate this approach, which is used by The Ounce of Prevention Fund in Chicago. This organization has found that repeated, sustained home visits can reinforce the work of community doulas.


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Contact: Jann Ingmire
jingmire@uchicago.edu
773-702-2772
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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