HomeHealth articlesnutritionWhat Are the Facilitators of Breastfeeding?

Facilitators of Breastfeeding and Its Importance

Verified dataVerified data

3 min read


Breastfeeding facilitators help to establish successful breastfeeding. This article delivers the knowledge one must possess about this concern.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sunita Kothari

Published At October 26, 2022
Reviewed AtFebruary 3, 2023


Breastfeeding is the best way to feed infants. It fulfills the best nutritional need for growing infants. It is imperative to meet the optimum nutrition for the growth and development of infants. Despite various advancements in formula-based milk, there is no known substitute for breast milk.

The newborns with an underlying condition who could not receive mother’s milk should be fed with expressed mother’s breast milk or from milk banking. It is important to provide the baby with breast milk as the breast milk secretion is per the child’s growing need.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for up to six months of infants’ age, gradual weaning (introduction of solid food) after six months, and continued breastfeeding for up to two years or until the mother and the baby desires. Exclusive breastfeeding is the time period when the infants receive only breast milk during the first six months without any additional solid food or fluid, not even water.

Why Is Breastfeeding Important?

It acts as a protective shield against infections and reduces the risk of various systemic diseases, including diabetes, heart problems, and obesity, for newborns. It also reduces the risk of certain allergic diseases like asthma and improves an infant's brain development.

Additionally, the skin-to-skin contact essential for breastfeeding helps develop a bond between the mother and the newborn babies. On the other hand, breastfeeding minimizes the chances of breast and ovarian cancer in the mother.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends breastfeeding for the initial six months of life and continuing breastfeeding until the mother and baby desire. It is beneficial for both the newborn and the mother.

What Are the Facilitators of Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is a natural process that develops with time and practice. Many factors like different socio-cultural factors, habits, standards, and behavior influence breastfeeding mothers. The facilitators of breastfeeding can help mothers develop and practice the correct breastfeeding techniques to achieve effective breastfeeding for their newborns.

1. The Support of Breastfeeding Caregivers - Facilitators included good caregiver and healthcare professionals' attitudes, knowledge, and support during the postpartum period. It is essential because the correct early initiation of breastfeeding can help the mother learn the right way to breastfeed efficiently. Knowing the correct position to hold the babies and practicing proper latch can be quickly developed if the mothers are trained well in the hospital. A lactation consultant should share all the information regarding the latching techniques, ways of breastfeeding, number of feeds in a day.

2. Attuned Breastfeeding - Attuned breastfeeding is when both the mother and the baby trust the emotional, bodily response. The mother feels comfortable holding the infant while breastfeeding. Understanding the emotional response and needs of the infant can provide a mutual positive reaction. The key factors that facilitate attuned breastfeeding are prolonged skin-to-skin contact with the infant and positive relationships with the caregivers. Learning the feeding clues from the baby can also be very helpful for mothers in developing effective breastfeeding. Adopting and practicing breastfeeding in a relaxed position helped mothers promote the milk flow and get a positive response from the infants.

3. Lack of Prolonged Period of Mother and Infant Separation - The mother living in close physical association with the infant by maintaining skin-to-skin contact can facilitate their breastfeeding experience. It can promote the proper milk supply in the mammary duct and establish successful breastfeeding. In addition, some studies report that maintaining a daily kangaroo position helps the mother in breast milk secretion, especially when they cannot secrete breast milk properly in the beginning.

4. Supporting Work Environment for the Mothers - The maternity period must be considered at all workplaces. Therefore, all mothers must be provided with maternity leaves and some feasibility with the work while they continue breastfeeding their newborns.

5. Facilities for Breastfeeding at the Workplace - Accommodating a breastfeeding room in an office could be very helpful for breastfeeding mothers, as such facilities will help them make way for breastfeeding their babies while continuing with their work. This way, an uninterrupted breastfeeding and working environment could be well managed.

6. Appropriate Availability of Child Care Options - The restaurants, malls, and other social platforms should incorporate breastfeeding rooms. It can be helpful for many lactating mothers, especially those mothers who are uncomfortable breastfeeding in public. In addition, it could delay the weaning and provide adequate nutrition to the infant through breastfeeding.

7. Feeling Reassured - Another factor that positively impacted breastfeeding women was reassurance from staff and their family that they are “doing good with the breastfeeding.” It provided a feeling of security and calmness during their hospitalization period and even at home. Some mothers develop confidence by having the staff outside their private space and monitoring the feeding.

8. Feeling Relaxed- Adopting and practicing breastfeeding in a comfortable position helped mothers promote the milk flow and get a positive response from the infants.


Some studies show that cultural traits related to breastfeeding may be harmful or beneficial to optimal breastfeeding for mothers. The harmful cultural characteristics affect breastfeeding practices by extracting and discarding the colostrum milk and avoiding breastfeeding out of fear of bad blood entering the milk, believing that it may harm the child's health. All these practices may lead to early cessation of breastfeeding. It is essential to promote factors that enhance the breastfeeding experience of the mother, as early initiation of breastfeeding following the WHO guidelines is imperative for the growth and development of infants. A positive breastfeeding experience for a mother can enable her to achieve attuned breastfeeding.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why Is It Necessary to Support Breastfeeding Mothers?

It is normal for new mothers to undergo postpartum depression. New mothers require time to recover and adjust to the new routine. They do not get sufficient sleep, feel isolated, experience a lack of emotional support, and have to keep up with other household chores. The care and support that family members offer to new mothers can make a substantial difference in their lives. Some might need emotional help while others may need practical help. The type of help and from whom it is obtained can make a difference in the new mother. The milk supply can be affected if a mother is stressed.


What Are the Various Types of Breastfeeding?

The various types of breastfeeding are:
- Exclusive Breastfeeding: This involves feeding the baby with only breast milk. It includes receiving breast milk directly from the breasts, a baby consuming pumped breast milk from a bottle, or a baby who is nursed at the breast and consumes pumped breast milk from a bottle.
- Partial Breastfeeding: This involves breastfeeding along with solid foods or formula. Partial breastfeeding is practiced by a few from the beginning or a transition to partial breastfeeding is done when the baby is introduced to solid foods.


What Is the Recommended Age Limit for Breastfeeding?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that newborns should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. Breastfeeding should be continued along with the introduction of solid foods till two years of age or longer. The cessation of breastfeeding is called weaning. It is the choice of the mother and the child to decide when it would be appropriate to wean off from breastfeeding.


Is Breastfeeding Beneficial for Breast Health?

One sheds breast tissue while breastfeeding or when pregnant. This shedding aids in the removal of cells with potential DNA damage, thus minimizing the risk of developing breast cancer. Breastfeeding also minimizes the risk of ovarian cancer by preventing ovulation and minimizes the risk of endometrial cancer, thyroid cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and postpartum depression. Breastfeeding results in the production of oxytocin which aids in the contraction of the uterus following delivery. It also promotes faster weight loss after childbirth in a few females.


Can One Breastfeed While Pregnant?

It is completely safe to breastfeed while pregnant. The body continues to produce sufficient milk to nourish the elder child and also the fetus in the womb gets sufficient nutrients from the mother. There is a myth that breastfeeding the elder one when pregnant can harm the unborn baby. But, it is not so. One must ensure that they drink plenty of fluids and eat food with healthy calories. Research says that it is safe to breastfeed if the subsequent pregnancy is not complicated. 


Why Is Breastfeeding for a Longer Duration Better?

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine states that a longer duration of breastfeeding is linked with the reduction of maternal diseases and offers protection from any such diseases. Further, it minimizes the risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, and obesity.  It also promotes faster weight loss after childbirth in a few females.


How to Wean Off From Breastfeeding?

Weaning should be a gradual and gentle process. Stopping breastfeeding gradually aids in the prevention of engorged (overfull, hard) breasts and mastitis. Weaning can be initiated by gradually ceasing the breastfeeding session when the child seems to be less interested, identifying certain signs that indicate the child is to ready to wean off from breastfeeding, providing alternate ways of emotional comfort, following baby-led weaning, partially stopping breastfeeding when they are introduced to solid foods, and so on.


Is It Possible to Breastfeed Two Babies?

The process of breastfeeding two babies is called tandem feeding. Different positions can be followed to breastfeed two babies. These include the double rugby position, the laid-back position, or the parallel hold position. Tandem feeding is a healthy, common, and safe option. Tandem breastfeeding offers the benefit of reducing breast engorgement, reducing the risk of plugged ducts, and inducing a bond between the elder child and the new baby.


What Is Meant by the Natural Method of Breastfeeding?

Natural breastfeeding or laid-back breastfeeding is a technique in which the babies find and latch to the mother’s breasts based on instincts and reflexes that they are born with. This relaxes both the baby and the mother and results in more successful breastfeeding. Full-term, healthy babies are born with feeding reflexes that will direct them to the breast without requiring much help from the mother.


Does Breastfeeding Facilitate Ovulation?

Ovulation is the process by which eggs are released from the ovaries. Regular breastfeeding aids in the prevention of ovulation. Ovulation is essential for a pregnancy to occur. Breastfeeding can prevent ovulation only if the baby is under six months of age and is fed only through breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is done for a minimum of every four hours in the day and every six hours at night, and if one is not having periods currently. This is called the lactational amenorrhea method and is regarded as a type of birth control method.


Which Hormone Interferes With Ovulation During Breastfeeding?

During breastfeeding, the levels of prolactin increase, which inhibits the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormones from the hypothalamus. As a result, the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis is affected, which prevents the secretion of estrogen and affects ovulation. Suckling also influences the release of other pituitary hormones like the follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, which suppresses ovulation and menstruation.


Can One Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?

Yes, there are chances to get pregnant if one is breastfeeding. Ovulation is essential for a pregnancy to occur. However, breastfeeding can prevent ovulation only if the baby is under six months of age and is fed only through breastfeeding; breastfeeding is done for a minimum of every four hours in the day and every six hours at night, and if one does not have periods currently. This is called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) and is regarded as a type of birth control method. Only one to two out of every 100 women who follow LAM appropriately get pregnant.


Which Hormones Are Affected by Breastfeeding?

The levels of prolactin and oxytocin are directly influenced by breastfeeding. Other hormones like estrogen are indirectly involved in breastfeeding. Prolactin enhances milk production while oxytocin is involved in the ‘let down’ reflex or moving the milk. Including zinc, selenium, vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and so on can maintain the hormonal balance. Oxytocin helps in the contraction of the uterus after childbirth and helps reduce postpartum bleeding. It is also known as the ‘love hormone', hence helps establish a bond with the baby.


Are There Any Side Effects of Breastfeeding?

It is common for many women to experience chest and wrist pain, back pain, cramping, and bruising on the breasts while breastfeeding. Also, it can feel painful at times, can be stressful, and difficult in the beginning. One might have less time to spend for themselves since the baby always needs the mother, and can experience leaky breasts which can be embarrassing. Certain choices of food that the mother eats have to be compromised since it might not suit the baby as it gets transferred to the baby through breastfeeding. Despite all these shortcomings, breastfeeding provides enormous benefits both to the baby and the mother.


Does One Lose Weight After Breastfeeding?

It is a false belief that breastfeeding utilizes enormous calories in the process of producing milk. Some amount of stored body fats may be used while some are preserved for breastfeeding. Not many women lose all the baby weight until they completely refrain from lactating. Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day. However, the amount of weight that one loses varies with each woman. Some can gain weight once they stop breastfeeding.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Sunita Kothari
Dr. Sunita Kothari

Obstetrics and Gynecology


Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Do you have a question on


Ask a doctor online

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy