The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) urges its obstetricians and gynecologists to do more to support breast-feeding mothers. ACOG, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that mothers exclusively breast-feed their babies for at least the first six months of life. While most new mothers start breastfeeding immediately following baby’s birth, more than half of moms stop sooner than they’d like.
“Moms deserve better support, and obstetric providers can and must help, both by assisting their patients and by advocating for policies and practices that enable women to achieve their goals,” Dr. Alison Stuebe, lead author of a new ACOG committee opinion, said in an ACOG news release.
ACOG urges obstetricians to begin talking about breast-feeding with pregnant mothers early in their pregnancy. OBGYNs should document a mother’s breast-feeding history as well as discuss any concerns or risk factors she may have that would impact successful breast-feeding.
The committee opinion also urged obstetricians to respect and support a woman’s informed decision whether to begin or continue breast-feeding.
Women who give birth by Cesarean section (surgical method of birth) have lower breast-feeding rates, so it advises that women who have cesarean deliveries may require extra support to start and maintain breast-feeding.
The new opinion also stated that ACOG “supports policies that protect the right of the woman and her child to breast-feed. Paid maternity leave, on-site child care, break time, and a location other than a bathroom for expressing milk are essential to sustaining breast-feeding.”
The committee opinion is in the Feb. 2016 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The U.S. Office on Women’s Health has more about breast-feeding.
SOURCE: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, news release, Jan. 25, 2016