Background: Although lactation experts suggest that a correct positioning and attachment technique reduces breastfeeding problems and enhances long-term breastfeeding, evidence from randomized trials is lacking. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of postpartum positioning and attachment education on breastfeeding outcomes in first-time mothers.
Method: A randomized trial was performed in a public hospital in Adelaide, South Australia, where 160 first-time mothers were randomly allocated to receive either structured one-to-one education (experimental group) or usual postpartum care (control group) within 24 hours of birth. The primary outcome was breastfeeding at 6 weeks and 3 and 6 months postpartum; other outcomes were nipple pain and trauma in hospital and at 6 weeks and 3 and 6 months, and satisfaction with breastfeeding.
Results: No significant differences occurred in breastfeeding rates between the groups at each endpoint, although a trend in the direction of lower rates was seen at each endpoint in the experimental group. This group reported less nipple pain on days 2 (p = 0.004) and 3 (p = 0.04), but this was not sustained on follow-up. No differences were observed in nipple trauma in hospital or in self-reported nipple pain and/or trauma at the three endpoints. Experimental group women were less satisfied with breastfeeding at 3 and 6 months postpartum when using a one-item measure; however, a multiple-item measure showed no significant differences at the three endpoints.
Conclusions: The intervention did not increase breastfeeding duration at any assessment time or demonstrate any differences between the groups on secondary outcomes. The trend toward lower breastfeeding rates in the experimental group suggests a need for a larger trial to evaluate whether or nor postpartum positioning and attachment education may negatively affect breastfeeding.