Making the Decision to Breastfeed

Deciding what and how to feed your baby is one of the first decisions that parents will encounter over their child’s lifetime. It is important that parents receive accurate and up to date information about infant nutrition to make a fully informed decision about breastfeeding. 

Informed consent is a fundamental principle of health care. The definition of “informed consent” means the patient (or parent) and the health care provider talk about a proposed medical treatment's nature, consequences, harms, benefits, risks, and alternatives (Cordaso, 2013). This means that health care providers need to help patients and families understand the benefits, risks and consequences of all feeding options.

Lovelace Women’s Hospital supports informed decision-making and participates in the Baby-Friendly initiative, a set of international standards around infant feeding education. The Baby-Friendly initiative has specific content areas that health care providers should discuss with their patients. These include the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby, the risks and costs of feeding artificial kinds of milk, and the risks and consequences of unnecessary supplementation. 

Informed decision making involves understanding the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies and understanding the risks of not breastfeeding, including the risk that supplementation may have a negative impact on breast milk production.  Health care providers want you and your baby to get your best start possible and that includes supporting your family in making informed decisions.  Infant feeding is a key decision for you, your family and for your baby.

When you choose to breastfeed your infant, Lovelace is here to help. Join our New Parent Group or meet with our Lactation Services Team by calling 505.727.6797 or emailing LactationServices@Lovelace.com. Follow us on our Lovelace Labor of Love Facebook Page to keep up on the latest blogs, Facebook live events, video archives, community events and meeting updates.

Blog Submitted by Erica Baca RN, BSN, IBCLC of Lovelace Women’s Hospital Lactation Services and Kym Halliday Clear RN, BSN, CCRN-K Manager of Outpatient Programs.     

Cordasco KM. Obtaining Informed Consent From Patients: Brief Update Review. In: Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2013 Mar. (Evidence Reports/Technology Assessments, No. 211.) Chapter 39. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK133402/

Ontario Public Health Association. (2014). Position Paper: Informed Decision-Making & Infant Feeding

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