IntNSA eLearning Portal Logo

C36. Barriers and Facilitators of Breastfeeding in Women on Opioid Maintenance Therapy For Opioid Use Disorder: A Systematic Review and Metasynthesis

About The Event

  • Cost: Free
  • Total Slot: 0
  • Booked Slot: 0

This event has expired

Learner category:

  • Intermediate Level

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will be able to understand the specific benefits of breastfeeding for women in treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) and their newborns
  • Participants will be able to explain the factors that facilitate breastfeeding among women treated for OUD
  • Participants will be able to describe the modifiable barriers to breastfeeding among women treated for OUD


Purpose: The purpose of this systematic review and metasynthesis is to describe the current science related to barriers and facilitators of breastfeeding among women in treatment for opioid use disorder.
Background: The benefits of breastfeeding are particularly relevant for women on opioid maintenance therapy (OMT) for opioid use disorder (OUD). Among other specific benefits, breastfeeding decreases the severity of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) in the opioid-exposed newborn, promotes mental health for the mother, and facilitates maternal/infant bonding. However, breastfeeding rates in this group are low. A majority of women on OMT state an intention to breastfeed, but only a small percentage are successful beyond the first postpartum week. Several studies have revealed factors that can promote or prevent successful breastfeeding in these women, but a clear picture of how these factors interact to explain why they discontinue breastfeeding early is needed.
Methods: Multiple databases including PubMed, APA PsycInfo, and CINAHL were searched for relevant research published within the past five years. The search was narrowed to qualitative and mixed-method descriptive studies related to barriers and facilitators of breastfeeding in women on opioid maintenance therapy. Seven studies were chosen for review.
Results: Themes identified as barriers include lack of knowledge, inconsistent and inaccurate information, and misconceptions. Themes representing facilitators include the presence of support from both the social network and professional care providers. How these factors influence each other to lead women to discontinue breastfeeding early in the process remains unclear.


Margaret (Meg) is a board-certified neonatal nurse practitioner with over thirty years’ experience working with high-risk childbearing families, including those coping with substance use disorder and newborns with neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. She currently teaches family nursing, maternal/newborn nursing, and nursing research at the University at Buffalo School of Nursing. She is currently a PhD candidate and the focus of her doctoral research is childbearing women with opioid use disorder. She has a passion for addressing disparities in perinatal health care and supporting breastfeeding.
Amy L. Hequembourg, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Dr. Hequembourg received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University at Buffalo and completed a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship in alcohol etiology, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions. Her research focuses on health disparities among sexual and gender minorities with an emphasis on interpersonal violence (e.g., lifetime sexual victimization, intimate partner violence) and sources of minority stress (e.g., microaggressions) among these populations. She has extensive experience using quantitative and qualitative research approaches. Her work has been funded by the National Institute of Justice and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Mickey Sperlich is an assistant professor and experienced midwife and researcher who studies the effects of trauma and mental health challenges on women’s childbearing, postpartum experiences and early parenting outcomes. Her book Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse, was awarded “Book of the Year” by the America College of Nurse Midwives in 2008. Sperlich is co-creator of a psychosocial intervention for pregnant survivors of abuse; the Survivor Moms’ Companion, and is dedicated to developing and evaluating trauma-specific approaches to promote healthy parenting and interrupt cycles of violence and psychiatric vulnerability. Sperlich teaches and presents about trauma and human rights, working with survivors of abuse, and the infant mental perspective, which considers ways we can promote secure primary attachments and foster well-being in relationships right from the start.
Dr. Yu-Ping Chang is the Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Endowed Professor, Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship, Department Chair – Family, Community & Health Systems Sciences and an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing with the University at Buffalo. Dr. Chang has a Masters Degree in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing and a PhD in Nursing. Her research focuses on integrating behavioral interventions, including motivational interviewing and mindfulness-based stress reduction, for substance abuse and mental health in primary care settings and evaluating the effects of intervention on various outcomes.

Our Speakers

Amy Hequembourg
Margaret Doerzbacher
Mickey Sperlich
Yu-Ping Chang
Register online, get your ticket, meet up with our inspirational speakers and specialists in the field to share your ideas.

Leave your thought here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *