Delivering prenatal breastfeeding education to a vulnerable population in rural Montana
Young, Cindy Rae
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The educational project aimed to document the efficacy of delivering prenatal breastfeeding education on exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) rates of mothers identified as vulnerable in a rural western Montana community. A convenience sample was utilized to implement the pilot project that included three educational sessions, taught by certified lactation counselors scheduled to coincide with routine prenatal appointment. A control group (CG) was established from a two-month sample of mothers delivering at the implementation site one year before implementation. The education was expected to enhance breastfeeding intentions as evidenced by the scores on the Infant Feeding Intentions (IFI) Scale, thus leading to higher rates of EBF in the participant group (PG) versus a control group. The PG mothers had slightly higher rates of EBF at both hospital discharge (PG 62% vs. CG 59%) and 7-10 days after birth (PG 57% vs. CG 53%), which failed to show statistically significant differences. One statistically significant difference was noted in the higher rates of EBF at 7-10 after birth for PG first-time mothers versus CG first-time mothers (73% vs. 0%, p < .001, 95% CL), indicating prenatal breastfeeding education may have made a more significant impact with first-time mothers. However, the efficacy of delivering prenatal breastfeeding education to impact EBF rates in this vulnerable population can neither be supported nor refuted based on the project results. A review of medical records showed that over 90% of the participant mothers attempted to breastfeed in the hospital (control 76%) and 75% of participant mothers who were not EBF while in the hospital were still giving their infant their breast milk versus 33% of the CG mothers. Seventy-five percent of the PG and CG mothers who were not EBF at 7-10 days were offering breast milk with formula supplementation. Due to acknowledged limitations in design, measurement and data collection, it is not possible to credit the statistically significant results mentioned above to the educational project. This project did provide useful information to guide future project modifications in implementation design and significant suggestions for further study.