On 28 April 1988, the Interagency Group for Action on Breastfeeding met to develop and agree upon a set of definitions that could be used as standardized terminology for the collection and description of cross-sectional information on breastfeeding behavior. The schema and potential framework suggested at the meeting were reviewed extensively by breastfeeding researchers and program personnel, revised at subsequent meetings by a variety of organizations, and compared against published research on patterns of breastfeeding and their effects on infant nutrition, health, and fertility. This schema and framework: (1) acknowledge that the term "breastfeeding" alone is insufficient to describe the numerous types of breastfeeding behavior, (2) distinguish full from partial breastfeeding, (3) subdivide full breastfeeding into categories of exclusive and almost exclusive breastfeeding, (4) differentiate among levels of partial breastfeeding, and (5) recognize that there can be token breastfeeding with little to no nutritional impact. The schema and framework should assist researchers and agencies in their efforts to accurately describe and interpret breastfeeding practices.
PIP: On April 28.1988, the Interagency Group for Breastfeeding met to develop and agree on definitions that can be used as standard terminology for the description and collection of cross-sectional information on breastfeeding behavior. The potential framework and scheme were much reviewed by breastfeeding researchers and program personnel, revised at subsequent meetings by many organizations, and compared against published research. The schema divides breastfeeding into 2 categories: 1) full; and 2) partial. Partial includes 3 levels of feeding--medium, high, and low. Full breastfeeding is divided into exclusive and almost exclusive. Token breastfeeding, a 3rd category, is not for nutritive purposes. The framework includes additional parameters: 1) time postpartum or child's age; 2) frequency; 3) intervals; 4) duration; 5) artificial nipples or other devices; 6) type, timing, and amount of other feedings; 7) expression of breast milk and later use and 8) other influences. Using the framework and schema, one can fully describe breastfeeding behavior at a single point in time. This schema has made major contributions: 1) distinction between "full" and "partial" breastfeeding; 2) the differentiation among partial breastfeeding levels; 3) the subdivision of full breastfeeding into categories of "exclusive" and "almost exclusive" 4) the recognition that there is "token" breastfeeding with little or no nutritional impact. Additional refinements in the framework and schema can still take place. Comparisons and meta-analyses would be improved if more researchers used this framework and schema.