Date of Graduation

12-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Nursing

Advisor

Scott, Allison

Reader

Vowell Johnson, Kelly

Second Reader

Ballentine, Hope

Abstract

Breastfeeding is associated with improved health outcomes for both mother and child. Not only does it provide optimal nutrition for the infant, it also encourages an intimate maternal-infant bonding experience that establishes the basis for parenting and interaction. Major medical organizations including the Surgeon General’s Healthy People 2020 have an aim of increasing the number of women who initiate breastfeeding, and a recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding for at least one year. While most women are aware that breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for infants, they often lack knowledge regarding the numerous health benefits or reduction in health risks that occur through breastfeeding. This lack of knowledge inhibits mothers from properly weighing the advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding to make an informed decision. Increased exclusive breastfeeding rates are best achieved with specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals. In order to increase breastfeeding rates, it is important to provide mothers with adequate information and support, especially during their hospital stay. This is attainable through evidence-based policies, staff education and training, active nurse involvement, and collaboration of the multidisciplinary health care team.

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