US Task Force Recommends Primary Care Interventions to Support Breastfeeding Interview with:

Ann Kurth, Ph.D., C.N.M., R.N. USPSTF Task Force member Dean of the Yale School of Nursing

Dr. Ann Kurth

Ann Kurth, Ph.D., C.N.M., R.N.
USPSTF Task Force member
Dean of the Yale School of Nursing What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Breastfeeding is beneficial for both mothers and their babies, with the evidence showing that babies who are breastfed are less likely to get infections such as ear infections, or to develop chronic conditions such as asthma, obesity, and diabetes. For mothers, breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk for breast and ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes. While breastfeeding rates have been rising in recent decades—with 80 percent of women starting to breastfeed and just over half still doing so at six months—they are still lower than the Healthy People 2020 targets and the Task Force wanted to review the latest evidence around how clinicians can best support breastfeeding.”

After balancing the potential benefits and harms, the Task Force found sufficient evidence to continue to recommend interventions during pregnancy and after birth to support breastfeeding. This recommendation includes the same types of interventions the Task Force recommended in 2008, such as education about the benefits of breastfeeding, guidance and encouragement, and practical help for how to breastfeed. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The Task Force hopes this recommendation encourages women to have a conversation with their provider so that they can make an informed, personal decision about how to feed their infants. Additionally, the Task Force recognizes that the decision to breastfeed is a personal one and suggests that clinicians provide interventions that meet the needs of their patients’ specific situations. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Breastfeeding has proven health benefits for both the mother and the baby, but new mothers who want to breastfeed often need support to be successful. At the end of the day, the Task Force focus in this recommendation is on primary care clinicians supporting mothers so that they can make an informed choice based on their own situation. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


1. Primary Care Interventions to Support Breastfeeding
US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.
JAMA. 2016;316(16):1688-1693. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14697
2. Related JAMA article:
Patnode CD, Henninger ML, Senger CA, Perdue LA, Whitlock EP.
Primary Care Interventions to Support Breastfeeding
Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force.
JAMA. 2016;316(16):1694-1705. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8882

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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