What can pediatricians do to make breastfeeding easier? New recommendations

Is your doctor giving you the support you need to breastfeed? Upspring.

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics made recommendations to its doctors on how they can better support moms who breastfeed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, and yet the academy when surveying its doctors found that many don’t support breastfeeding.

Doctors were less likely in a 2004 survey then a 1995 survey to recommend breastfeeding. They cited inconvenience, difficulty and that not all mothers could succeed at it. A 2014 survey shows that that trend hasn’t changed. One of the things those surveys have found is that doctors, believe it or not, are not well-trained in breastfeeding.

Now in the May issue of Pediatrics, the academy is recommending these things that doctors can do to make breastfeeding supported in their offices:

  • Talk about breastfeeding with patients at prenatal appointments, the hospital visit and the first visit out of the hospital
  • Schedule the first newborn visit three to five days after birth
  • Ask to observe a feeding at that appointment to make sure things are going well
  • Help mothers identify their breastfeeding goals and provide support to achieve those goals
  • Educate moms on what the Affordable Care Act provides, such as breast pumps paid for by insurance, breaks at work and a place to pump
  • Provide a lactation room with supplies for employees and patients
  • Create an office policy that supports employees who are nursing
  • Include staff training on how to provide help and resources to patients who are nursing and make sure nurses who answer the phone can give that advice
  • If possible, employ a lactation consultant
  • Let patients know that breastfeeding is OK in the waiting rooms and make it a comfortable area to do so (Where’s the rocking chair?)
  • Get trained on the rare circumstances when breastfeeding is not recommended
  • Work with patients’ hospitals and birthing centers to make sure patients are being encouraged to nurse there
  • Work with local obstetricians to encourage their patients to breastfeed
  • Have access to community resources such as local La Leche league offices
  • Record breastfeeding statistics of their patients to share with the Centers for Disease Control

The American Academy of Pediatrics outlines that breastfeeding lowers the risk of these things for babies:

  • lower respiratory infections
  • gastroenteritis
  • otitis media
  • sudden infant death syndrome
  • obesity
  • asthma
  • certain childhood cancers
  • diabetes
  • postneonatal death

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CONTRARY VIEW: DR. TUTEUR WANTS YOU TO STOP FEELING GUILTY ABOUT YOUR LACK OF BREASTFEEDING