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Am Fam Physician. 2022;105(1):93-94

Clinical Question

Can providing infant carriers before or at birth increase the likelihood of sustained breastfeeding?

Bottom Line

Giving an infant carrier to mothers before or at delivery increases sustained breastfeeding from three to six months following birth. The authors speculate that this outcome is caused by increased physical contact. (Level of Evidence = 1b)

Synopsis

As part of a home-visit program conducted by community health workers in a primarily Latin, low-income community in the western United States, the investigators enrolled 100 pregnant participants, using concealed allocation, to receive an infant carrier (Ergobaby Omni 360) either before or at birth, or at six months after birth, with at-home instructions on how to use it. Following delivery, the participants were contacted by text message four times over the first six months and asked what they were currently using to feed their baby. The rate of feeding breast milk, directly or from bottled expressed milk, was high and similar between groups at six weeks postpartum (78% vs. 81%). The rate of feeding breast milk was lower, but still similar at three months (66% vs. 57%). At six months, the reported rate of breast milk feeding was significantly higher for the group that immediately received a carrier after birth (68% vs. 40%; P = .02). The rates of exclusive breastfeeding were not significantly different (49% vs. 26%; P = .06) at six months, although the study may not have been large enough to find a difference if one exists. The study is limited by the number of dropouts, especially younger participants, over the course of the six months of follow-up.

Study design: Randomized controlled trial (nonblinded)

Funding source: Industry and foundation

Setting: Outpatient (any)

Reference: Little EE, Cioffi CC, Bain L, et al. An infant carrier intervention and breastfeeding duration: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2021;148(1):e2020049717.

Editor's Note: Dr. Shaughnessy is an assistant medical editor for AFP.

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