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Open Access Lactation Consultants' Perceptions of Musculoskeletal Disorders Affecting Breastfeeding: A Cross-Sectional Survey

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Objective: The study aimed to investigate IBCLCs' demographic profile, perceptions of breastfeeding musculoskeletal disorders in infants, and referral patterns.

Method: IBCLCs from Canada and the United States (N = 13,017) were invited to participate in an online survey questionnaire emailed by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.

Results: Response rate was 18.9% (N = 2,457). Most IBCLCs had a nursing background (64.8%) and practiced in a hospital setting (57%). Most reported referral of infants for musculoskeletal treatment (73.9%). The first professional referral was made to a pediatrician (47%), followed by craniosacral therapist (16%), and chiropractor (14%). Professional expertise was the chief reason for referral (43%). The most common latch issues referred for were tongue-tie (27%), painful latch (24%), neck problems (18%), and nonlatching (9%). Congenital torticollis (25%) and neck tension (14%) were the main musculoskeletal problems recognized by IBCLCs. Approximately half the respondents (51%) were comfortable recognizing musculoskeletal issues in babies. Most respondents (91%) noticed breastfeeding improvement following manual treatment.

Conclusion: IBCLCs refer to musculoskeletal specialists promptly following the first visit. More collaboration between professions may help foster the wide interprofessional support needed to improve breastfeeding rates.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2016

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