MaryJo Kanelos, “The Role of The Nurse-Midwife in Early Initiation of Breastfeeding”
Mentor: Kaboni Gondwe, Nursing
Breastfeeding initiation within the first hour of life, also known as early initiation, is associated with positive maternal and infant outcomes. In Malawi, approximately a third of newborns are breastfed within the first hour of life. In addition, the more infants are breastfed within the first hour of the birth is conducted by a healthcare provider. Nurse-midwives form the backbone of the healthcare system and provide care to the majority of clients. However, previous analysis did not consider the nature of the skilled birth attendant and whether this was impacted by the location where the provider practices. We hypothesized the proportion of infants breastfed within the first hour of life would be higher in midwives compared to other attendants at birth. Using the Malawi Demographic Health Survey, we examined relationship between provider and breastfeeding initiation in the last-born infant born before the survey was administered. Findings showed that the proportion of infants breastfed within an hour was higher if a birth was performed by a midwife and more infants born from providers in rural areas were breastfed within in hour. These findings show the importance of midwives in provision of care and the need to empower both rural and urban providers to support breastfeeding.