University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
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Abstract

Breastfeeding is promoted across the globe as the optimum method of infant feeding (World Health Organization, WHO, 2003). Though there is a plethora of published benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mother, breastfeeding rates are below the national goal of 75% for Healthy People 2010 during early postpartum and considerably lower at six months and at one year (Li et al., 2005; HHS, 2000). Arkansas is significantly below the national average and goals, with only 60% of mothers ever breastfeeding versus 74% nationally (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, 2008). To meet these goals nationally and on a state level, it is important to examine the factors associated with a mother’s choice of breastfeeding. Part I of this study examined the relationship between breastfeeding at discharge and the mother’s initial feeding preference, method of delivery, time of birth, birth-to-breast time, and any formula supplementation. It also identified which factor had the strongest relationship with rates of breastfeeding upon hospital departure. Part II of this study examined hospital nurses’ attitudes, knowledge, and confidence about breastfeeding instruction as related to their self-reported assistance with and promotion of breastfeeding in the past year. Results: Exclusive breastfeeding at discharge was related to type and time of delivery, birth–to-breast time, and use of formula supplementation. Knowledge and attitude scores did not yield significant correlations with the assistance and promotion of breastfeeding, though a weak positive correlation was noted between confidence in breastfeeding promotion and the nurses' assistance and promotion of breastfeeding.

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