Objective: To critically assess the effectiveness of complementary/alternative medicine modalities, comprising body/mind stress-releasing techniques, on the breastfeeding (BF) success of mothers of full-term newborns.
Methods: Literature review in Medline and other available database sources until December 2015, and critical analysis of pooled data. The study selection included randomized-controlled trials, case-control studies, and case series.
Results: The total number of analyzed studies was 9. Among them, three represented level-I, two level-II, one level-III, and three level-IV evidence. The pooled maternal population was 2135. Interventions that could influence cognition management seem effective in improving BF initiation and duration (strength of recommendation B), manual relaxation techniques in promoting BF initiation (strength of recommendation B), and auditory-mediated mind guidance in promoting BF duration (strength of recommendation C). The implementation of environmental sensory stimulations improves maternal perception about breastfeeding practice (strength of recommendation C).
Conclusions: Certain methods of complementary and alternative medicine show positive effect on breastfeeding. Further studies with good quality evidence, dedicated follow-up of the families after discharge, and strict definitions of breastfeeding and weaning are necessary to confirm the effectiveness of the identified interventions.
Keywords: Newborn; cognition; lactation; mother; stress.