Does the use of intrapartum medical intervention predict suboptimal breastfeeding initiation?

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Despite recommendations from international bodies, few mothers achieve the target of breastfeeding their infant exclusively for six months (Herzhaft-Le Roy et al 2017). Interventions often focus on maternal motivation to breastfeed because the assumption is made that the neonate's ability to breastfeed is physiological and automatic. However, there is some evidence to suggest that intrapartum care practices may impede innate breastfeeding reflexes and reduce early mother-infant contact (Bai et al 2013). Therefore, it can be suggested that practitioners must also focus on the ability of the infant to breastfeed at birth. Generally, women and their families have faith in medical clinicians and for that reason it is important that they are fully informed about the immediate and long-term effects of complex interventions before labour commences (Beauchamp & Childress 2001).

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