Crivelli-Kovach, Lenstrom Discuss Breastfeeding at Conference

By Purnell T. Cropper | January 29, 2010

Two Arcadians made presentations on breastfeeding practices and education at the American Public Health Association’s 13th annual meeting and expo, held Nov. 7 to 11 in Philadelphia.

Dr. Andrea Crivelli-Kovach, Associate Professor and Director of Community Health, discussed “Evaluation of current hospital breastfeeding practices in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Delaware Valley.” This study analyzed breastfeeding policies and practices among hospitals in the five-county Philadelphia metropolitan area and the degree to which the hospitals are implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. “We concluded that areas identified as needing the greatest attention are the overuse of formula supplementation of breastfeeding infants and limited contact time between the mother and newborn during the postpartum hospital stay,” Crivelli-Kovach says. “Changes reported in implementation of the Ten Steps compared with data collected in 1994 and 1999 indicate an increased awareness regarding breastfeeding and enhanced promotion and support of health-care professionals in the hospital setting. Breastfeeding rates in suburban hospitals continue to be significantly higher then urban hospitals, pointing to the influence of sociodemographic factors on breastfeeding initiation and duration.” Crivelli-Kovach is Immediate Past President of the Pennsylvania Public Health Association.

Amber Lenstrom, a dual-degree student in the Physician Assistant and Master of Public Health programs, made a presentation on “Mothers’ hospital experiences with breastfeeding education and support in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.” Says Lenstrom, “Our initial interviews revealed that mothers experienced prolonged separation from the infant (36 percent), early supplementation in the hospital (55 percent), and inadequate support at hospital discharge (85 percent) as barriers to breastfeeding success. The availability of lactation consultants on staff at a hospital directly correlated with the quality of breastfeeding education and support the mothers received,” she adds. “By actively encouraging mothers to breastfeed in the hospital, health-care professionals can monitor and assist with proper breastfeeding technique and positioning to best prepare a mother to feed the infant on her own.” Read more.