A systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to promote the initation of breastfeeding

Fairbank L, O'Meara S, Renfrew M J, Woolridge M, Sowden A J, Lister-Sharp D
Record ID 32001000001
Authors' objectives:

The primary aim of this systematic review was to evaluate existing evidence to identify which promotion programmes are effective at increasing the number of women who start to breastfeed. In addition, the review aimed to assess the impact of such programmes on the duration and/or exclusivity of breastfeeding and the intermediate and process outcomes. Where the strength and quality of the evidence permitted, the review aimed to identify implications for practice within the UK and priority areas for future research.

Authors' recomendations: Three types of intervention have been shown to be useful in the promotion of breastfeeding when delivered as a stand-alone intervention in developed countries. Informal, small group health education, delivered during the antenatal period, appears to be effective at increasing initiation rates among women from different income groups and from some minority ethnic groups. There is also some evidence to show that one-to-one health education can be effective at increasing initiation rates among women on low incomes. Peer support programmes, delivered in the ante- and postnatal periods, have also been shown to be effective at increasing both initiation and duration rates of breastfeeding among women on low incomes, and particularly among women who have expressed a wish to breastfeed. Packages of interventions have also been shown to be effective at increasing the initiation and, in most cases, the duration of breastfeeding in developed countries. Effective packages appear to include a peer support programme and/or a media campaign combined with structural changes to the health sector and/or health education activities. Structural changes in hospital practices to promote breastfeeding (HSI) have been shown to be effective at increasing both initiation and duration of breastfeeding in developing countries. Rooming-in, as either a stand-alone intervention or as one component of a package of interventions, is a key example of an effective HSI.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Project Status: Completed
URL for project: http://www.hta.ac.uk/1084
Year Published: 2000
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England, United Kingdom
MeSH Terms
  • Breast Feeding
  • Postnatal Care
Organisation Name: NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
Contact Name: journals.library@nihr.ac.uk
Contact Email: journals.library@nihr.ac.uk
Copyright: 2009 Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.