10 Jun 2014

American Samoa push for breastfeeding only in hospital

4:24 pm on 10 June 2014

The LBJ Hospital in American Samoa is to soon attempt to enforce breastfeeding only for mothers at hospital who have just given birth.

Data from a study on the feeding patterns of Samoan babies found that the majority of pregnant mothers who say they plan to exclusively breastfeed their infants end up changing their minds soon after giving birth.

Dr Stephen McGarvey, who is leading the infant baby feeding study, says mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their babies in the first 4-6 months of their lives because of the superior benefits of breastmilk.

But he says a large number of women who introduce formula to their babies did so before they left the hospital, which is why it is so important to introduce what is they are calling the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.

"Which is to basically enforce at an institutional level exclusive breastfeeding at the hospital. There is no longer formula in LBJ, the doctor has to write a prescription for it, from my point of view, that's a good thing. But we also recognise it's maybe hard for some families to do that."

Dr Stephen McGarvey, who leads a study on the feeding patterns of Samoan babies.