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Friday, January 29, 2010

New studies on factors affecting breastfeeding

Two recent news on breastfeeding made me sit up and take notice this week. The first one was about the impact of caesarean births on the length a mom breastfeeds. Almost all of the breastfeeding advocates I've talked to promote normal or epidural free births, saying that this results in an alert baby, encouraging immediate latch-on to ensure a lengthy breastfeeding relationship.
A recent UK study conducted by the University of Manchester and East Lancashire Primary Care Trust, (who followed more than 2,000 mothers receiving breastfeeding help from the same peer support group, to enable a fair comparison of other factors) found that "[w]hat did have an impact was ethnicity, and the number of previous births."
Interestingly, "[w]hite mothers were 70% more likely to stop than non-White contemporaries" and "the relative economic status of the women made no difference, with the poorest as likely to continue or abandon breastfeeding as the wealthiest, nor did it matter whether the mothers were married."
The study also found that "babies who were put to the breast within an hour of being born - as recommended by the World Health Organisation - were not breastfed any longer than those with whom breastfeeding was initiated within 48 hours." But it was the "number of babies a mother had previously delivered impacted upon breastfeeding duration, with women having their third or fourth baby more likely to continue than those having their first."
Meanwhile, a study to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism concluded that "antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which include such drugs as Prozac and Paxil, may be linked with delayed secretory activation -- a delay in the initiation of full milk secretion."
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about 70-80% of new moms experience baby blues with 10% developing into a full blown postpartum depression. I'm unsure if there's a similar study conducted in the Philippines but I do know that unlike in the US, antidepressants are not regularly prescribed to new mothers here.
I would think that the presence of extended family and yayas (nanny) contribute to the low incidence of postpartum depression here - which is probably why there are no studies or news on baby blues or postpartum depression being experienced by Pinay moms.
Despite the abundance of studies on effects on breastfeeding, I find that most of them are not applicable to Pinoy moms. We have certain cultural and lifestyle idiosyncracies that make the experiences of Pinoy moms unique. In my opinion, the most important factor affecting breastfeeding length here would be support from boss/work colleagues for a working mom while the successful initiation of breastfeeding hinges on a supportive pediatrician and family.

1 comment:

Melodie said...

Excellent post. I keep wanting to do something on my blog with this study but other breastfeeding bloggers are doing such a fantastic job with it I'm just tweeting other people's work instead.

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