Breastfeeding impact: a five-paths approach

When mothers and babies discharge home from hospital feeding directly at the breast, it symbolises the quality of maternity care received during pregnancy, birth and early postnatal periods. Focus on this primary outcome has led to the development of five key areas of research, each of which independently predict breastfeeding, and potentiate each other.

  1. Midwifery-led services and facilities includes research on midwifery continuity of care; models for vulnerable families; health engagement; birth centres; homebirth; and freestanding midwifery units.
  2. Spontaneous onset of labour at term includes research on early labour care; informed decision-making (e.g. breech, vaginal birth after caesarean section, twins, post-dates pregnancy); strategies to increase the term birth rate.
  3. Non-pharmacological analgesia includes research on warm water immersion and water birth; sterile water injection; professional labour support; and hypnosis during labour.
  4. Spontaneous vaginal birth includes research on hands-poised for birth; upright birth positions; and non-directed pushing.
  5. Optimising mother-baby interaction includes research on the first hour after birth; skin-to-skin contact; and baby-led breastfeeding.

Lead: Dr Jyai Allen