Prenatal lactation counselor effect on breastfeeding duration for mothers at risk for early weaning
Havens, Jessica Mary Evelyn.
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The main objective of this project was to determine the effectiveness of a prenatal consult with a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) on breastfeeding duration for mothers at risk for early weaning. We conducted a cohort study that utilized a blinded control trial design. Mothers were recruited from two large OBY/GYN clinics in the northwest United States, and participants were divided into a control group and an experimental group. The experimental group received the prenatal intervention which consisted of one consult with a CLC. The results of the study indicated that mothers with lower scores on the BAPT (Breastfeeding Attrition Prediction Tool) control section showed a slight trend for decreased breastfeeding intensity at eight weeks postpartum as measured by the Index of Breastfeeding Status (IBS). Experimental and control groups had similar patterns in BAPT scores and IBS rates at eight weeks. With the results in mind, the BAPT control section may be a useful tool for prenatal care providers to utilize to help identify mothers who are at high risk to not meet their breastfeeding goal. The results of this study neither support nor discourage the practice of referring high risk mothers to a lactation expert prenatally, but providers can consider this an option for providing additional breastfeeding education and support for their patients.