An account of significant events influencing Australian breastfeeding practice over the last 40 years

Thompson, Robyn E., Kildea, Sue V., Barclay, Lesley M. and Kruske, Sue (2011) An account of significant events influencing Australian breastfeeding practice over the last 40 years. Women and Birth, 24 3: 97-104. doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2010.08.005


Author Thompson, Robyn E.
Kildea, Sue V.
Barclay, Lesley M.
Kruske, Sue
Title An account of significant events influencing Australian breastfeeding practice over the last 40 years
Journal name Women and Birth   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1871-5192
1878-1799
Publication date 2011-09-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.wombi.2010.08.005
Volume 24
Issue 3
Start page 97
End page 104
Total pages 8
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background
Low breastfeeding duration rates reflect the pain and distress experienced by many women who discontinue breastfeeding in the early weeks and months of life. This paper explores modern key historical events that have significantly influenced Australian breastfeeding education and practice.

Method
Relevant literature reviewed from 1970 to 2010 identified key events that appear to have contributed to the decrease in Australian breastfeeding rates and the increase in women experiencing breastfeeding complications, particularly nipple pain and trauma.

Findings and discussion

The rise in institutionalisation and medical intervention in labour and birth has also medicalised midwifery practice. Technocratic intrusion and institutionalised care is contributing to the separation of the mother and newborn at birth. Delayed mother–baby initiation of breastfeeding and interruption of the duration of the first, and subsequent breastfeeds, negatively affects the innate ability of the mother and newborn to establish and sustain breastfeeding. The ‘pathologising’ of breastfeeding that involve midwives teaching women complicated and unnatural breastfeeding techniques interfere with instinctive sensory and mammalian behaviours and further contributes to the high complication rates.

Conclusion

Midwives are encouraged to reflect on their role as ‘experts’ in the breastfeeding process and give confidence to women so that they utilise their instinctive ability to breastfeed by self-determined techniques that encourage mammalian skills for newborn sustenance and survival.
Keyword Intra-oral anatomy
Bio-physiology
Primal reflexes
Mammalian behaviours
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 23 May 2014, 22:20:27 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work