Evidence-Based Workplace Interventions for Breastfeeding Working Mothers

Monday, 30 July 2012: 3:05 PM

Shela Akbar Ali Hirani, MScN, BScN
School of Nursing, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan
Rozina Karmaliani, RN, RM, BScN, MScN, MPH, PhD
Aga Khan University School of Nursing, Karachi, Pakistan

Learning Objective 1: Identify the evidence-based workplace interventions that can promote breastfeeding practices of working mothers

Learning Objective 2: Realize the need to initiate workplace interventions for breastfeeding working mothers in Pakistan

Purpose: Breastfeeding is an important aspect of parenting, as well as an essential source of nutrition that contributes to optimal growth and development in young babies. Employed mothers often find it challenging to continue breastfeeding with employment especially if workplace support is minimal or missing. Pakistan is facing the challenge of gradual decline in breastfeeding prevalence rates. In this region, workplace barriers have been reported as one of those prime reasons that result in discontinuation of breastfeeding among working mothers. This review aims at exploring the workplace strategies (interventions) that can promote the breastfeeding practices of working mothers.

Methods: A literature search of peer reviewed databases including CINHAL (1980 to 2009), MEDLINE (1980-2009), Pub Med (1980-2009), Springer Link (1980-2008) and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3rd quarter, 2008) was undertaken. Considering the pre-set inclusion and exclusion criteria, out of more than 500 literature sources, 48 were shortlisted and reviewed.

Results: Review of literature revealed that in order to assure exclusivity and continuation of breastfeeding among employed mothers, workplace interventions must include assisting working mothers, enhancing employer’s awareness, arranging physical facilities at workplace, promoting fathering programmes, providing flexibility in work environment, and initiating mother and baby friendly policies at workplace.

Conclusion:  This review confirmed that globally much work has been done to improve the breastfeeding practices of working mothers; however, in Pakistan the effectiveness of the workplace lactation support programme has not been tested yet. Therefore, it is recommended that future researches must aim at testing effects of the evidence-based workplace interventions on exclusivity and continuation of breastfeeding among employed mothers in Pakistan.