Objectives: This article investigates the efficacy of acupuncture for the maintenance of breastfeeding during the first 3 months of a newborn's life.
Subjects and interventions: After written informed consent was obtained, 90 women were randomly divided into two groups: acupuncture treatment or observation. Acupuncture sessions were performed twice weekly for 3 weeks (total six sessions). The control group made weekly visits to the clinic and the midwife observed their breastfeeding, giving routine care. In both groups, a semistructured clinical assessment of breastfeeding quality was carried out by the midwife at enrollment and after 3 weeks. Moreover, in both groups a telephone interview was conducted by the midwife at the third month of the infants' lives, regarding the continuation of breastfeeding.
Results: No significant difference in the exclusive breastfeeding rate before treatment was observed between acupuncture and observation groups (51.2% versus 48.8%). However, at 3 weeks post-enrollment, exclusive breastfeeding was significantly lower in the observation group than in the acupuncture group (60% versus 100%; p < 0.03). At the third month of the newborns' lives, breastfeeding was reported in 35% of the acupuncture group, compared to 15% of the observation group (p < 0.03).
Conclusions: Such preliminary data suggest that 3 weeks of acupuncture treatment were more effective than observation alone in maintaining breastfeeding until the third month of the newborns' lives.