Effects of brief exposure to water, breast-milk substitutes, or other liquids on the success and duration of breastfeeding

Read the full review here [Note: not open access – pay per view]

Considerable uncertainty remains about the effects of brief exposure to water, breast-milk substitutes, or other liquids (supplementations) on the success and duration of breastfeeding.

Breast feeding is recognised as holding many benefits for infants in key developmental phases. Exclusionary breast feeding allows infants to receive minerals, vitamins and even medicine solely through breast feeding. This review aims to evaluate the effect of supplementation in the first days of life on breastfeeding duration and rates of exclusive breastfeeding. One randomized control trial was included in this review with data from 170 participant infants. It was noted that selection bias was a possibility for this review. Results showed higher rates of formula feeding at four weeks when breastfeeding was supplemented in the first three days of life, compared to exclusive breastfeeding. At sixteen weeks rates of continued breast feeding exclusively or otherwise, were significantly lower in the experimental group. Brief exposure of breastfed infants to other supplementations would markedly reduce the success and duration of breastfeeding. Results are to be interpreted with caution, given the limited evidence. A gap in substantial evidence and knowledge on the effects of brief supplementation on breastfeeding is noted.

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