Breast-feeding counselling in a diarrhoeal disease hospital.Bull World Health Organ. 1996; 74(2):173-9.BW
Lactation counsellors were trained to advise mothers of partially breast-fed infants who were admitted to hospital because of diarrhoea, so that they could start exclusive breast-feeding during their hospital stay. Infants (n = 250) up to 12 weeks of age were randomized to intervention and control groups. Mothers in the intervention group were individually advised by the counsellors while mothers in the control group received only routine group health education. During follow-up at home by the counsellors a week later, only the mothers in the intervention group were counselled. All the mothers were evaluated for infant feeding practices at home two weeks after discharge. Among the 125 mother-infant pairs in each group, 60% of mothers in the intervention group were breast-feeding exclusively at discharge compared with only 6% in the control group (P < 0.001); two weeks later, these rates rose to 75% and 8% in the intervention and control groups, respectively (P < 0.001). However, 49% of mothers in the control group reverted back to bottle-feeding compared with 12% in the intervention group (P < 0.001). Thus, individual counselling had a positive impact on mothers to start exclusive breast-feeding during hospitalization and to continue the practice at home. Maternal and child health facilities should include lactation counselling as an integral part of their programme to improve infant feeding practices.