Best Practice Information Sheet: Women's perceptions and experiences of breastfeeding support

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Abstract

According to the World Health Organization, although breastfeeding has significant health benefits for infants and mothers, rates of breastfeeding remain lower than recommended. Suggested strategies for assisting new mothers with breastfeeding have included both peer and professional support. We undertook a systematic review, which included 31 qualitative papers and explored women's perceptions and experiences of professional or peer breastfeeding support. This review identified strong evidence for adoption of models and arrangements that emphasize relationship-based care by facilitating provision of more continuity of care and individualized care and advice for women; practical help for women who need it; antenatal education; postnatal advice and support; midwifery/nursing education to enhance communication and information provision skills; and support schemes that cater to women from all socio-economic groups.

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