Online ‘map’ to support breastfeeding mums

Matt Woodley

29/03/2019 2:52:10 PM

The world-first system is designed to help GPs with patients who have issues breastfeeding.

Conflicting advice is one of the most common factors inhibiting breastfeeding.

According to the system designers, LactaMap has been developed specifically to provide doctors with an evidence-based program they can use during consultations to help treat mothers and babies experiencing lactation issues.
Lead researcher Melinda Boss, a senior research fellow in the pharmacy division of the University of Western Australia (UWA) School of Allied Health, explains that unlike other medical guidelines, LactaMap is ideal for use at the point of care.
‘Lactation completes the reproductive cycle but is often considered outside of the scope of modern medicine,’ Ms Boss said.
‘Conflicting advice is one of the most common factors that impact a mother’s confidence in her ability to initiate and sustain breastfeeding.’

GP and lactation consultant, Dr Anita Bearzatto, told newsGP the resource could be improved if it directed GPs to the Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ), rather than the International Lactation Consultants Association (ICLA).
Aside from this potential oversight, however, she said LactaMap appears to be an ‘excellent resource’ and useful for consumers as well as GPs.
‘This online tool provides detailed information on a very wide number of topics related to the breastfeeding mother and baby, including both physical and psychological health issues,’ she said.
‘All the breastfeeding problems are clearly described and the management provided appears to be up to date and evidence-based. References and useful links to resources are given ... [and] the index of problems is useful for quick access to information.’
The free online tool addresses key issues such as whether there is pain or discomfort for the mother or baby during breastfeeding; if there are concerns about maternal milk synthesis or the baby’s ability to remove milk; and whether the baby or mother have any diagnosed medical conditions that need strategies to support breastfeeding.
‘Once the GP has this information base, they can then work through the platform to develop a personal care plan for the patient,’ Ms Boss said.
‘The platform contains 112 clinical practice guidelines as well as the LactaPedia glossary and 21 information sheets that can be printed out during the consultation or emailed to patients.’
The glossary defines more than 560 terms associated with lactation including physiology, the composition of human milk and conditions that affect lactation.
It can be freely accessed by GPs as well as the general public, and was created to combat the lack of consistency in lactation-related terminology and help counteract some of the conflicting advice women receive when breastfeeding.
‘Our hope is to create a common medical and scientific understanding that will help to normalise human lactation,’ Ms Boss said.
‘Evidence-based support and guidance from their GP is important to help women achieve their breastfeeding goals as well as optimise infant and maternal health.’
Breastfeeding to six months has been identified by the World Bank Group the single largest potential impact on child mortality of any preventive intervention. Yet, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, less than 16% of Australian babies are exclusively breastfed to five months of age.

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Philip Hand   31/03/2019 7:28:20 PM

Breastfeeding is best.

Janelle Maree   1/04/2019 3:31:54 PM

Breastfeeding is best is an industrial formula phrase breastfeeding is normal stop perpetuating the myths