Promotion of Exclusive Breastfeeding in a Clinic Setting Did Not Increase Its Rates

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breastfeeding, breastfeeding education, exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding


Breastfeeding is known to have many protective effects on childhood health. Breastfeeding without supplementation or complementary foods until 6 months of age is inversely related to several health problems, including childhood obesity. Because of the known beneficial effects on infant health of breastfeeding, education on breastfeeding may impact exclusive breastfeeding rates, resulting in improved infant health status. This retrospective study, using Pender’s health promotion model and the theory of planned behavior (Pender, Murdaugh, & Parsons, 2011), explored the effect of a breastfeeding education intervention for quality improvement in an ambulatory care clinic on the rate of exclusive breastfeeding during the first 4 months of infancy, or short-term exclusive breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding rates were measured after the 4-month well exam, which represents the time of the existence of the quality improvement intervention for 4–5 months. The expected outcome was a minimum 15% increase in exclusive breastfeeding rates in the participants who received the educational program as compared to the individuals who did not receive the breastfeeding education intervention. Contrary to expectations, the group receiving standard care had significantly higher rates of exclusive breastfeeding than those receiving the intervention