Impact and Effectiveness of Group Strategies for Supporting Breastfeeding after Birth: A Systematic Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 4;18(5):2550. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18052550.


Despite the multiple benefits of breastfeeding both for the mother and for the infant, during the first months there is a progressive decline in the number of mothers who continue breastfeeding, with most countries reporting lower than recommended figures. The objective of this review is to analyse the most effective group support practices for breastfeeding, as well as the characteristics associated to their success in maintaining breastfeeding. A systematic review has been conducted in the 2015-2020 period, in the following databases: MedLine, Scopus, Web of Science, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Cochrane Library and LILACS. The findings were summarized in narrative and table formats. A total of thirteen articles were included, eight of them being experimental studies and five observational. The findings show high heterogeneity regarding the characteristics of the interventions and their periodicity. The most successful group strategies to support and maintain breastfeeding during postpartum are those that combine peer support with the leadership or counselling of a health professional or IBCLC. However, more studies are necessary, randomized and with interventions of similar characteristics, which allow for better data comparison.

Keywords: breastfeeding; lactation; self-help group; support group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mothers*
  • Parturition
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy