1. Hill, Jane A. MS, RN


The USPSTF supports both pre- and postnatal interventions.


Article Content

Breastfeeding promotes good health in mothers, infants, and young children. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) cites among its benefits the lower rates of breast and ovarian cancer in women who breastfeed, compared with those who don't, and the lower incidences of ear, lower respiratory, and gastrointestinal infections; obesity; asthma; and type 2 diabetes in breastfed than in bottle-fed infants. In 2005, 73% of new mothers chose to breastfeed their infants, a number approaching the U.S. Healthy People 2010 goal of 75%.


In its current "recommendation statement," an update to its 2003 statement, the USPSTF recommends implementing both pre- and postnatal interventions to encourage and support breastfeeding, including breastfeeding education and hands-on assistance and teaching health care staff about breastfeeding and techniques for supporting it. The USPSTF's support for intervention is based on findings from a systematic review of more than 25 randomized trials that interventions during pregnancy, birth, and infancy increased the incidence, duration, and exclusivity of breastfeeding. One good- quality study found that babies in the intervention group were significantly more likely to be breastfed exclusively and to have better health outcomes than those in the control group.


The USPSTF advises that future research should focus on evaluating the relative roles of individual interventions within multilayered programs, as well as on developing and sustaining "systems of care" within organizations. Studies should also compare partial and exclusive breastfeeding.


The crux of the matter. Mothers who participate in breastfeeding education programs are more likely to breastfeed and to breastfeed their babies exclusively. Interventions should aim to help mothers make "informed choices," not to promote guilt in those who choose not to breastfeed.


U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med 2008;149(8):560-4.


Section Description

Evidence for Excellence is a periodic department showcasing new evidence-based practice guidelines and results of systematic literature reviews to help the nurse in practice.


Practice Guidelines


Systematic Review