Breastfeeding is touted as the ideal choice for the baby nutrition in the first months of its life but only 75 % of the babies from US are exclusively breastfed in the first six months of their life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the breastfeeding of the baby in the first months of his or her life because this will protect the baby from future illnesses like stomach problems, ear infections and the odds of becoming obese later in life.
In the same time recent studies have shown that breastfeeding can prevent for mothers the occurrence of a heart disease, breast cancer before menopause of developing type 2 diabetes after giving birth. The AAP also recommends prolonging the breastfeeding until the first year of baby’s life and even further until the baby turns 2 as a support for introducing the baby to diversified nutrition.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine from Yeshiva University conducted two separate trials in which were included women from different society backgrounds, with different education and very different approach towards breastfeeding.
The study called Best Infant Nutrition for Good Outcome focused on 666 women all low income, which were divided in four separate groups – with a lactation consultant, with random assistance from a lactation consultant, without a lactation consultant and regular breastfeeding with just hospital training. The researchers called these women every week to see whether or not they keep on breastfeeding.
During the first three months of the babies’ lives the women assisted regularly or randomly by a lactation consultant were more prone to breastfeed their babies while those breastfeeding the babies on their own with little or no lactation training and support chose only medium intensity or low intensity breastfeeding ( low percent of breast milk in combination with formula).
The second study group contained only 275 women coming from different economical environments. Here, 4 times more women chose to exclusively breastfeed during the first three months of their babies’ lives and medium and low intensity breastfeeding were more likely to occur after the age of 6 months. The impact of a lactation consultant increased the odds of high intensity breastfeeding in this study group.
The assistance of a lactation consultant can make a lot of difference in case of mothers with poor education coming from low income environments. However since ACA has very different approaches regarding the reimbursement of the medical personal offering lactation consultants the chances for this medical practice to occur more often seem to be conditioned solely by the nation wide economic circumstances .