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Checklist for women in childbed clarifies questions about breastfeeding

11/2003, 14.05.2003

The National Committee for the Promotion of Breastfeeding puts information for parents to be, midwives and hospital staff on the Internet

Shorter stays in hospital are both sensible and desirable after giving birth when it comes to containing costs in the health sector. However, they do make it more difficult to give mothers extensive advice when it comes to breastfeeding their newborn babies. They also restrict the opportunity to practice breastfeeding and looking after the newborn baby under practical supervision. If no midwife care can be provided at home, the mother and her partner are left to their own devices after being discharged from hospital. Frequently, many questions to do with breastfeeding and the problems that may arise remain unanswered. There is little time, as well, to provide information about the necessary red tape that has to be dealt with.

The National Breastfeeding Committee in the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has, therefore, drawn up a Checklist for (Breastfeeding) Women in Childbed. The Checklist is intended as a written aid for parents. It addresses the central questions which every mother (or both parents of the newborn baby) should know how to answer after the birth of her child.

What's more, the Checklist is also intended for those who provide professional care for pregnant women and their life partners before and after the birth of their child. It aims to help midwives and hospital staff inform mothers about breastfeeding and to identify and fill any gaps in knowledge. The Checklist can be supplemented at any time on the spot and adapted to the local situation. It is important that pregnant women or parents are already given the Checklist if possible towards the end of pregnancy so that they have time to check what they know and clarify any unanswered questions. The young mother should be given the Checklist at the latest in hospital so that she can clarify any uncertainties during her discharge conversation. Only when this is done in an intensive and comprehensive manner, is it possible to balance the information deficits which are bound to result from the shorter time spent in hospital.

The Checklist for Breastfeeding Women in Childbed (in German) can be accessed on the BfR homepage, under "The Institute/Advisory Committees and Expert Groups/National Breastfeeding Committee" (http://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/207/checkliste_fuer_die_stillende_woechnerin.pdf). Further information on breastfeeding can be found for instance in the new recommendation of the National Breastfeeding Committee on "Breastfeeding and Employment" (in German). It provides information on the statutory foundations for breastfeeding at the workplace and about protection provisions for breastfeeding mothers. Furthermore, it contains practical tips on breastfeeding at the workplace. (http://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/207/stillen_und_berufstaetigkeit.pdf).

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