Breastfeeding support in neonatal intensive care: a national survey

Ragnhild Maastrup, Susanne Norby Bojesen, Hanne Kronborg, Inger Hallström

46 Citationer (Scopus)


Background: The incidence of breastfeeding of preterm infants is affected by the support provided at the hospital and in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). However, policies and guidelines promoting breastfeeding vary both nationally and internationally. Objectives: The aim of this survey was to describe breastfeeding support in Danish NICUs, where approximately 98% of mothers initiate lactation. Methods: A national survey of all 19 Danish NICUs was conducted in 2009. Four NICUs were at designated Baby-Friendly hospitals, and 5 had a lactation consultant. In all NICUs, it was possible for some parents to stay overnight; 2 units had short restrictions on parents' presence. Five NICUs had integrated postpartum care for mothers. Breastfeeding policies, written guidelines, and systematic breastfeeding training for the staff were common in most NICUs. Seventeen NICUs recommended starting breast milk expression within 6 hours after birth, and mothers were encouraged to double pump. Most NICUs aimed to initiate skin-to-skin contact the first time the parents were in the NICU, and daily skin-to-skin contact was estimated to last for 2-4 hours in 63% and 4-8 hours in 37% of the units. The use of bottle-feeding was restricted. Conclusions: The Danish NICUs described the support of breastfeeding as a high priority, which was reflected in the recommended policies for breast milk pumping, skin-to-skin contact, and the parents' presence in the NICU, as well as in the restricted use of bottle-feeding. However, support varied between units, and not all units supported optimal breastfeeding.
TidsskriftJournal of human lactation : official journal of International Lactation Consultant Association
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)370-9
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2012


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