Breastfeeding patterns in infants with Down's syndrome : A literature review
This article reports on the findings of a literature review undertaken to examine factors that influenced breastfeeding among mothers of babies with Down's syndrome. Seven studies were identified, with the earliest published in 1983. The review indicates that higher rates of breastfeeding initiation were associated with professional breastfeeding support, whereas barriers to breastfeeding initiation were linked to the infants' inability to feed or to issues with the medical condition. The review underlines that despite the clearly identified health benefits of breastfeeding there is limited evidence on how new mothers of infants with Down's syndrome are supported to take advantage of such health benefits. More focussed research is urgently needed to seek a deeper understanding of the support needs of both mother and infant to enhance the breastfeeding experience. Such a concerted effort would provide a more up-to-date evidence base to health professionals directly involved in the maternity care of these women.