Lactation counseling increases exclusive breast-feeding rates in Ghana

Type Journal Article - The Journal of nutrition
Title Lactation counseling increases exclusive breast-feeding rates in Ghana
Volume 135
Issue 7
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
Page numbers 1691-0
Exclusive breast-feeding (EBF) rates remain low despite numerous health benefits associated with this behavior. We conducted a randomized trial on the effect of lactation counseling on EBF, which controlled for the Hawthorne effect while also varying the timing of the intervention. Pregnant women attending prenatal clinics in Tema were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 intervention groups (IG) or to a control group (C), as follows: 1) EBF support given pre-, peri-, and postnatally (IG1; n = 43); 2) EBF support given only peri- and postnatally (IG2; n = 44); or 3) nonbreast-feeding health educational support (C; n = 49) that had an equal amount of contact with lactation counselors. Two educational sessions were provided prenatally, and 9 home follow-up visits were provided in the 6-mo postpartum period. Infant feeding data were collected monthly at the participant’s home. The 3 groups did not differ in sociodemographic characteristics. At 6 mo postpartum, 90.0% in IG1 and 74.4% in IG2 had exclusively breast-fed during the previous month. By contrast, only 47.7% in C were doing so (P = 0.008). Similarly, the percentage of EBF during the 6 mo was significantly higher (P = 0.02) among IG1 and IG2 (39.5%) than among C (19.6%). The 100% increase in EBF rates can be attributed to the lactation counseling provided. Additional prenatal EBF support may not be needed within a context of strong routine prenatal EBF education.

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