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.