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JOURNAL ARTICLE

In-Hospital Formula Supplementation of Healthy Newborns: Practices, Reasons, and Their Medical Justification

Marija Boban, Irena Zakarija-Grković
Breastfeeding Medicine 2016, 11: 448-454
27548367

INTRODUCTION: In-hospital formula supplementation is a common practice and has been shown to be a strong determinant of shorter exclusive and any breastfeeding.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the reasons for and circumstances in which in-hospital formula supplementation occurs and whether the stated reasons are medically acceptable.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective cohort study was conducted among 342 mother-infant pairs from April to July 2011 at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital of Split, Croatia. Data were collected based on "every feed" charts and WHO/UNICEF "Questionnaire for Monitoring Baby-Friendly Hospitals". We used WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine documents on indications for supplemental feeding.

RESULTS: During the first 48 hours and entire hospital stay, 49.5% and 62.8% of infants, respectively, received supplements, given on average 16.68 ± 18.6 hours after delivery. In 94.1% of supplemented infants, healthy newborns were given artificial milk, of which 5.9% of mothers had not been notified. The most common maternal reasons for supplementing were "lack of milk" (49.8%), a "crying baby" (35.5%), "cesarean section" (11.5%), newborn weight loss (10.6%), and sore nipples (10.1%). Of all the given reasons, 24.6% were categorized as being medically acceptable. Primiparas were 1.3 times more likely to supplement in hospital, whereas multiparas were 1.3 times more likely to exclusively breastfeed.

CONCLUSION: In our study, most reasons for formula supplementation of healthy term newborns were not standard acceptable medical reasons, indicating a need for improved maternal support, revision of hospital policies, and training of hospital staff.

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