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Journal of Perinatal Medicine

Official Journal of the World Association of Perinatal Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Dudenhausen, MD, FRCOG, Joachim W.

Ed. by Bancalari, Eduardo / Chappelle, Joseph / Chervenak, Frank A. / D'Addario , Vincenzo / Genc, Mehmet R. / Greenough, Anne / Grunebaum, Amos / Konje, Justin C. / Kurjak M.D., Asim / Romero, Roberto / Zalud, MD PhD, Ivica

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Volume 42, Issue 1


Breastfeeding is natural but not always easy: intervention for common medical problems of breastfeeding mothers – a review of the scientific evidence

Renate L. Bergmann
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Obstetrics, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin 13353, Germany
  • Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin/Charite, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Klinik fuer Geburtsmedizin Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin 13353, Germany
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Karl E. Bergmann
  • Department of Obstetrics, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin 13353, Germany
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Katharina von Weizsäcker
  • Department of Obstetrics, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin 13353, Germany
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Monika Berns
  • Department of Neonatology, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin 13353, Germany
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Wolfgang Henrich
  • Department of Obstetrics, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin 13353, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Joachim W. Dudenhausen
  • Charite University Medicine Berlin, Weill Cornell Medical College Qatar, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Sidra Medical and Research Center, Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2013-09-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jpm-2013-0095


Natural processes do not always function perfectly. In breastfeeding, problems are encountered in up to 80% of mother-infant dyads. Altogether, in Western societies, the difficulties reduce the breastfeeding rate within the first months drastically. To deal with the problems of breastfeeding efficiently requires a profound understanding of its physiology, as well as of its psychological and social determinants. This review focuses on the current knowledge of breastfeeding physiology, only touching the psychosocial factors, which are included in the promotion strategies. Subsequently, it scrutinizes definitions, incidences, prevention, and treatment of breastfeeding problems faced most frequently by nursing mothers and their consultants. Not all measures used in counseling mothers and not all treatments for the most common medical problems withstand a careful evaluation on the basis of current scientific data. However, applying proven prevention strategies will significantly improve the well being of mothers and their infants, and may contribute to an affective attitude that increases the success, frequency, and duration of breastfeeding.

Keywords: Abscess; breastfeeding support; early contact; engorgement; lactational failure; lactogenesis; mastitis


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About the article

Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. Renate L. Bergmann, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin/Charite, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Klinik fuer Geburtsmedizin Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin 13353, Germany, Tel.: +49 30 450 564 101, Fax: +49 30 45 0564 908, E-mail: ; and Department of Obstetrics, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin 13353, Germany

Received: 2013-05-03

Accepted: 2013-08-12

Published Online: 2013-09-21

Published in Print: 2014-01-01

Citation Information: Journal of Perinatal Medicine, Volume 42, Issue 1, Pages 9–18, ISSN (Online) 1619-3997, ISSN (Print) 0300-5577, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jpm-2013-0095.

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