A new study finds the power of babywearing (carrying a baby in a sling) as a fantastic yet simple way to hugely improve breastfeeding rates 6 months after birth.
As you know, immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth increases
initiation and duration of breastfeeding.
Now a new study by Little E. et al., (2021) found babywearing parents were more likely to be breastfeeding or
feeding expressed human milk 6 months postpartum (68%) compared to parents in the control group (40%).
Researchers and community health professionals
from Project Concern International, University of California Merced,
University of Oregon, and University of Texas at Austin
investigated this question:
If parents were provided with soft-structured carriers (and good quality instructions) during pregnancy, could this increase the
likelihood of breastfeeding and expressed human milk feeding 6 months after birth?
A randomized parallel-group controlled trial was conducted between February 2018 to June 2019.
The researchers looked at how babywearing affected feeding outcomes.⠀
At 30 weeks’ gestation:
- 50 parents received an a soft structured infant carrier and instructions on the proper use to facilitate increased physical contact with their babies (the intervention group).
- 50 parents were assigned to a "waitlist control group" (the control group)
Parents in the intervention group used the infant carrier for an average 1.7 hours a day.
Feeding outcomes were assessed with online electronic surveys (on their phones) at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months postpartum.
Parents in the babywearing group (the intervention group) were more likely to be breastfeeding or feeding expressed human milk at 6 months postpartum (68%) compared to the control group parents (40%).
The conclusion: "Infant carriers increased rates of breastfeeding and expressed human milk feeding at 6 months postpartum."
To the knowledge of the researchers, this was the first randomised control study to demonstrate the efficacy of infant carriers to increase breastfeeding in the United States.
It is wonderful to see that such a simple thing as carrying a baby made such a huge difference to breastfeeding rates.
By increasing the number of babies receiving breast milk either directly at the breast or by being fed expressed breast milk at age 6 months, this could make a huge difference to a child's developing microbiome, with potential life-long consequences for a child's health!
What do you think?
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