Here are the findings from a review of 34 of these studies:
The studies included 29,385 mother-infant pairs from 14 countries. The studies analysed both lay support and professional support and found that all forms of support led to an increase in the duration of any breastfeeding (both exclusive and breastfeeding with partial supplementation). The studies also showed that access to both lay and professional support had a positive effect on the duration of EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding. The studies also found that support of any kind reduced the relative risk for stopping any breastfeeding before six months.
To read the entire review go to: http://apps.who.int/rhl/reviews/CD001141.pdf
In a study of 256 breastfeeding women conducted by the University of Toronto that compared mothers in a peer support group to mothers in a control group, they found that women in the peer support group had much better outcomes. More mothers in the peer group were still breastfeeding at 3 months than the control group (81.1% vs. 66.9%) and more of these mothers were doing so exclusively (56.8% vs 40.3%). The breastfeeding rates at 4, 8 and 12 weeks were 92.4%, 84.8% and 81.1% among the mothers in the peer support group, as compared with 83.9%, 75.0% and 66.9% for those in the control group. Women were also asked for an overall rating of their feeding experience. Women in the peer support group were significantly less likely to report a negative feeding experience than those in the control group (1.5% vs. 10.5%) . Of the 130 mothers that evaluated the peer support they received, 81.6% were satisfied with their experience and 100% felt that all mothers should be offered peer support.
To see the details of this study go to: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11800243
Here is a great graphic of all of the factors that play a role in breastfeeding:
This photo was borrowed from review by
Elizabeth Walker, RN, BScN
Linda DeVouge, RN, BScN
Debbie Chang, RN, BNSc
Luana Notten, RN, BScN
How you can help support breastfeeding mothers:
~ If there is a nursing mother in your life, be supportive and encouraging of her decision to nurse her baby
~ Be supportive of public breastfeeding
~ Encourage nursing mothers to find peer support groups in their community