This article investigates the efficacy of acupuncture for the maintenance of breastfeeding during the first 3 months of a newborn’s life.
Subjects and interventions
After written informed consent was obtained, 90 women were randomly divided into two groups: acupuncture treatment or observation. Acupuncture sessions were performed twice weekly for 3 weeks (total six sessions). The control group made weekly visits to the clinic and the midwife observed their breastfeeding, giving routine care. In both groups, a semistructured clinical assessment of breastfeeding quality was carried out by the midwife at enrollment and after 3 weeks. Moreover, in both groups a telephone interview was conducted by the midwife at the third month of the infants‘ lives, regarding the continuation of breastfeeding.
No significant difference in the exclusive breastfeeding rate before treatment was observed between acupuncture and observation groups (51.2% versus 48.8%). However, at 3 weeks postenrollment, exclusive breastfeeding was significantly lower in the observation group than in the acupuncture group (60% versus 100%; p < 0.03). At the third month of the newborns‘ lives, breastfeeding was reported in 35% of the acupuncture group, compared to 15% of the observation group (p < 0.03).
Such preliminary data suggest that 3 weeks of acupuncture treatment were more effective than observation alone in maintaining breastfeeding until the third month of the newborns‘ lives.