Clifford J, McIntyre E. Who supports breastfeeding? Breastfeed Rev. 2008 Jul;16(2):9-19. Review. PubMed PMID: 18767233.
‘Breastfeeding is best for baby’ is the view supported by many health organisations including Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). This literature review of both quantitative and qualitative studies was conducted to determine who supports women to breastfeed successfully in the current environment. Results indicated that fathers, other family members and friends can have a significant impact in supporting breastfeeding if they are positive about breastfeeding and have the skills to support breastfeeding. Health professionals are more effective in their support if their attitude to breastfeeding is positive and they have appropriate knowledge and skills to help the breastfeeding mother, something that is often lacking in their training. Peer counsellors and breastfeeding support groups are very effective but only if women access them. Employers and the community know about the benefits of breastfeeding; however, they do not provide much support for breastfeeding. For breastfeeding to be better supported, family and friends need to be more aware of the importance of breastfeeding and how to help mothers; health professionals need more effective training in supporting breastfeeding; peer counsellors and breastfeeding support groups need to be more accessible to breastfeeding women; and employers and the community need to be more breastfeeding friendly.