Impact of Birth Practices on Breastfeeding

Speaker: Linda Smith, MPH, IBCLC, FACCE, FILCA



Continuing Education Units

One (1) ICEA Contact Hour, One (1) R-CERP

At the end of this session, the learner will be able to:

  1. Describe birth practices and interventions that influence breastfeeding outcomes.
  2. Explain adverse effects of labor medications and birth procedures on the infant’s ability to breastfeed.

About the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)

The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) is a professional organization that supports educators and health care professionals who believe in freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives in family-centered maternity and newborn care.


Impact of Birth Practices on Breastfeeding


For breastfeeding to succeed, the baby must emerge from birth able to feed; the mother must be able and willing to let her baby feed; lactogenesis must proceed normally; breastfeeding must be comfortable for both, and the surroundings must support the mother and baby as mutual caregivers, an “inseparable biological and social unit” during the baby’s early days and weeks. Epidural anesthesia, induction of labor, Cesarean surgery, and other birth practices affect the baby’s ability to feed, onset of lactogenesis, and the delicate hormone levels of mother and baby that affect every aspect of the mother-child dyad.



Linda J. Smith, MPH, FACCE, IBCLC, FILCA is a lactation consultant, childbirth educator, author, and internationally-known consultant on breastfeeding and birthing issues. Linda is the International Lactation Consultant Association’s (ILCA) liaison to the World Health Organization’s Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and consultant to INFACT Canada/IBFAN North America. 

As a former La Leche League Leader and Lamaze-certified Childbirth Educator, she provided education and support to diverse families over 35 years in 9 cities in the USA and Canada. Linda has worked in a 3-hospital system in Texas, a public health agency in Virginia, and served as Breastfeeding coordinator for the Ohio Department of Health. She was a founder of IBLCE, founder and past board member of ILCA, and is a delegate to the United States Breastfeeding Committee from the American Breastfeeding Institute. Linda earned her Masters Degree in Public Health through the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University in 2011. She owns the Bright Future Lactation Resource Center, whose mission is “Supporting the People who Support Breastfeeding” with lactation education programs, consulting services, and educational resources.

Impact of Birth Practices on Breastfeeding

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