1. Heaman, Maureen PhD, RN

Article Content

lewallen, L. P., Dick, M. J., Flowers, J., Powell, W., Zicke foose, K. T., Wall, Y. G., & Price, Z. M. (2006). Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, 35(2), 166-172.

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Investigators conducting studies of women's reasons for stopping breastfeeding often have not reported the intended length of breastfeeding of their participants. This study was designed to overcome this limitation by following women who had expressed an intention to breastfeed for at least 8 weeks, in order to examine how much and what kind of help they received with breastfeeding both in hospital and at home and the reasons why they stopped breastfeeding earlier than intended. Three hundred seventy-nine women in the southeastern United States who had uncomplicated deliveries and who were breastfeeding for the first time were interviewed by telephone at 8 weeks postpartum. Not surprisingly, the majority of women (92%) reported receiving assistance with breastfeeding in the hospital, but only 54.8% of women reported receiving help at home. Almost one third (31.9%) of women had stopped breastfeeding by 8 weeks (16.5% had stopped by the end of the first week postpartum and another 18.1% by the end of the second week). The first 2 weeks after delivery are clearly an important time frame for providing additional support to maintain breastfeeding. The most common reasons for stopping breastfeeding were insufficient milk supply (34.7%) and painful nipples or latch problems (24.7%), as well as personal reasons (15.7%), returning to work or school (13.2%), and drugs or illness of the mother or the baby (12.3%). These reasons have been consistently reported in the literature, thus providing a strong base of evidence. The challenge is for nurses and other healthcare providers to implement this evidence in practice. The investigators recommend,


"Future research should focus on cost-effective interventions to assist women with common breastfeeding problems that can lead to early weaning. These interventions could be individual-based focusing on how to assess and increase milk supply and achieve a proper latch, institution-based focusing on professional or peer support, or policy-based focusing on improving pumping and storage facilities at workplaces in the community" (pp. 170-171).


Maureen Heaman