Duration of Breastfeeding After Discharge from a Midwestern United States Community Hospital

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Nancy Barnum, Hope College

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Breastfeeding has been shown to provide a number of health benefits for infants and their mothers. The longer an infant continues to breastfeed, the longer these benefits last. Since there are national breastfeeding duration goals set by Healthy People 2020, it is the desire of outstanding healthcare facilities to meet these goals. The purposes of this study were to evaluate breastfeeding duration, compare local statistics to national standards, and determine barriers causing early cessation of breastfeeding at a Midwestern community hospital. The framework utilized for this study was Nola Pender’s Health Promotion Model because of its recognition of the many different types of influences and perceived benefits/barriers involved with promoting optimal health of the patient. The study was descriptive and retrospective in design and involved data collected via written patient questionnaires. Participants included women, ages 18 and older, who gave birth between March 1, 2008 and February 28, 2009 in a Midwestern community hospital and were listed as breastfeeding upon discharge. This convenience sample included 403 women which was a 34.4% return rate. Results and conclusions are currently pending. Data will be analyzed using SPSS software for descriptive statistics and correlations. Limitations of the project include convenience sampling, biased return of surveys, biased recall of information from 6-12 months prior, and only one hospital included. The implications of the results will include staff adaptation towards increasing the duration of breastfeeding after patient discharge.

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