Mother-Infant Interaction and Breastfeeding Outcome 6 Weeks After Birth

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Abstract

Objective:

This study explored the relationship of early postpartum maternal-infant interactions to breastfeeding outcome at 6 weeks postpartum.

Design:

Prospective, comparative descriptive study.

Setting:

Women, Infants, and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program and Comprehensive Perinatal Services Programs in northern California.

Participants:

Forty-two Latina participants were recruited in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Eligibility criteria included age 18 years or older, primiparous at recruitment, antepartum desire to breastfeed 8 weeks or longer postpartum, planned hospital birth, full-term vaginal birth of a healthy newborn, and an uncomplicated, immediate postpartum course for mother and newborn, including being discharged together.

Main Outcome Measures:

The study examined breastfeeding dyads' early postpartum scores on Barnard's Nursing Child Assessment Feeding Scale (NCAFS) in relation to breastfeeding outcome 6 weeks postpartum. NCAFS tests were performed 28-90 hours postpartum in the participants' homes, and breastfeeding status was assessed by phone contact 6 weeks postpartum.

Results:

Dyads continuing to breastfeed at 6 weeks postpartum had significantly higher early postpartum NCAFS scores than did dyads who had weaned from the breast by 6 weeks postpartum.

Conclusions:

Optimal maternal-infant interactions, as evidenced by higher scores on Barnard's NCAFS, were related to longer breastfeeding duration. Lower scores on the NCAFS, suggesting difficulties in maternal-infant interaction, were related to weaning earlier than planned.

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