Infant feeding policies in maternity wards and their effect on breast-feeding success: an analytical overview

Am J Public Health. 1994 Jan;84(1):89-97. doi: 10.2105/ajph.84.1.89.


Objectives: The purpose of this review is to examine the plausibility of a causal relationship between maternity ward practices and lactation success.

Methods: Studies were located with MEDLINE, from our personal files, and by contacting researchers working in this field. Of the 65 studies originally reviewed, 18 met our inclusion criteria (i.e., hospital-based intervention, experimental design with randomization procedures, or quasi-experimental design with adequate documentation).

Results: Meta-analysis indicated that commercial discharge packs had an adverse effect on lactation performance. The impact of early mother-infant contact on lactation success was unclear. Rooming-in and breast-feeding guidance in a rooming-in context had a beneficial impact on breast-feeding among primiparae. Breast-feeding on demand was positively associated with lactation success. In-hospital formula supplementation of 48 mL per day was not associated with poor breast-feeding performance.

Conclusions: Hospital-based breast-feeding interventions can have a beneficial effect on lactation success, particularly among primiparous women.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Bottle Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Nurseries, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Organizational Policy*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Rooming-in Care
  • Survival Analysis