In the obstetric world, the word failure is often used when the norm is not met or an intervention (regardless of its appropriateness) does not work. Some terms you may recognize include:
· Failure to progress
· Failure to descend
· Failure to dilate
· Failed induction of labor
· Failed trial of labor
· Failed attempted vaginal birth after a previous cesarean
· Failed lactogenesis (not able to make breast milk)
The terms failed or failure are harsh, to say the least. They are deeply personal to those who are the recipients of the diagnosis. But when breastfeeding fails, is it the mother’s fault?
In a recent issue of The Lancet breastfeeding has been highlighted as a health topic that needs more support, investment, and commitment. The health benefits of breastfeeding are staggering, for both mom and baby. In the response to overall low breastfeeding rates, the authors of Why invest, and what it will take to improve breastfeeding practices?*, suggests 6 points to improve breastfeeding rates around the world. Guess how many of these points directly involve the mother? None! The call for support looks more broadly to the system, if the system is improved the breastfeeding rates should follow.
In brief, here are their suggested interventions to improve breastfeeding rates.
1. Disseminate the evidence of exclusive breastfeeding
2. Foster positive societal attitudes towards breastfeeding
3. Show political support
4. Regulate formula companies
5. Monitor trends and interventions in breastfeeding practices
6. Political institutions to exercise their authority and remove structural and societal barriers to breastfeeding.
What do you think, will a systems approach improve breastfeeding rates? What do you think was the biggest influence on your breastfeeding experience?
*The summary of the article is found here