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|Title:||A breastfeeding study in a rural population in South Australia|
|Citation:||Rural and Remote Health, 2006; 6(495):Online|
|GE Stamp and HT Casanova|
|Abstract:||Introduction: The benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies are well recognised; however, challenges to its establishment and maintenance exist in rural locations. Method: This study in a rural community aimed to: (1) collect rates of any breastfeeding at 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months postpartum; and (2) seek women’s postnatal breastfeeding needs and discern how they were met. Fifty-eight women, most of whom had planned to birth at one of two rural hospitals with fewer than 50 births a year were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone. Questions included whether they were still breastfeeding, reasons for stopping, and their breastfeeding support needs in hospital and after discharge on eight domains: establishment; attachment; engorgement; sore nipples; cracked nipples; ongoing support; supply and mastitis. Results: The number breastfeeding at 3 months (55%) compared poorly with South Australia (62%) or nationally (63%). Midwives met most of the needs of the women in hospital while, at home, midwives and GPs remained the main sources of support. At home, small numbers contacted the Australian Breastfeeding Association, child and youth health service nurse; a midwife employed by a pharmacist and family members such as mothers and mothers-in-law for support. Overall, 25% of women who had an identified need did not seek help. Of those who did, 36% had the need met well and 28% poorly. After discharge, 52 (90%) would have welcomed a visit from a community midwife had it been available. In the regional town, facilities to breastfeed and change babies’ nappies were rated poor or non-existent. Conclusion: Since this study, a part-time community midwife has been employed and a new project initiated that educates and assists older women volunteers to support and promote breastfeeding for isolated new mothers.|
|Keywords:||breastfeeding; South Australia; support|
|Appears in Collections:||Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications|
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