Breastfeeding Support in the Early Postpartum: Content of Home Visits in the SILC Trial Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:The Supporting breastfeeding In Local Communities (SILC) cluster randomized controlled trial evaluated whether a home visit focussed on infant feeding early in the postpartum period increased the percentage of infants breastfeeding at 4 months in low socioeconomic areas of Victoria, Australia. The visits were offered to women identified as at risk of early breastfeeding cessation after discharge home with a new baby. This paper describes the content of the home visits. METHODS:SILC visited 1,043 women from September 2012 to March 2013, and completed a data sheet for each visit documenting topics discussed, as well as what support and resources were offered. Frequencies and percentages are presented. RESULTS:Home visits most commonly included the provision of reassurance to women (91%). Topics discussed included general breastfeeding information (83%), supply and demand (83%), positioning (79%), and feeding frequency (78%). Newborn feeding/behavior (57%), expression of breastmilk (54%), nipple pain (41%), low breastmilk supply (41%), and the use of nipple shields (18%) were also prominent topics. The issues and support needs of women were similar across locations (rural, regional or metropolitan) and regardless of maternal parity or age. There was some variation in the resources suggested in different localities. CONCLUSIONS:New mothers require help and reassurance independent of whether this is their first or subsequent child, reinforcing the need for support, breastfeeding information, and education about normal neonatal behavior. Key aspects of support are reassurance, normalization of infant behavior, and education.

publication date

  • 2016