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August 1996

Evaluation of the 'Best Start' Breast-feeding Education Program

Author Affiliations

From Toledo (Ohio) Pediatrics and Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo (Dr Hartley), and Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University and Rainbow Babies and Childrens Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio (Dr O'Connor).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(8):868-871. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170330094016

Objective:  To compare the frequency of breast-feeding before and after the "Best Start" breast-feeding educational program was implemented.

Design:  Preintervention-postintervention trial.

Setting:  A women's health center and children's hospital serving a low-income population.

Patients:  Ninety mother-infant pairs of whom the infants were born between January 2 and February 28, 1993, compared with 90 mother-infant pairs of whom the infants were born between January 2 and February 28, 1994.

Intervention:  Best Start, a breast-feeding education program, was presented to health professionals and clerical staff of the Women's Health Center. At the first prenatal visit, a woman is asked, "What do you know about breast-feeding?" instead of "Are you going to breast-feed or bottle-feed this baby?" The program elicits and acknowledges the mother's concerns and then educates her about the benefits of breast-feeding. This is repeated at each prenatal visit.

Outcome Measures:  Sociodemographic data and breast-feeding rates of preintervention groups were compared with those of postintervention groups. Both hospital and outpatient records were reviewed.

Results:  In 1993, 13 (15%) of 86 mothers breast-fed at hospital discharge compared with 25 (31%) of 81 in 1994 (P<.03). At the 2-week clinic visit, 11(13%) of 86 were still breast-feeding in 1993 compared with 17 (21%) of 81 in 1994 (P>.20). The impact on mothers aged 19 years or less was particularly marked, with a tripling of the breast-feeding rate at hospital discharge from 11% (2/18) in 1993 to 37% (10/27) in 1994.

Conclusion:  This simple, low-cost educational intervention with a change in the manner of presentation significantly improved the breast-feeding rates of this low-income population.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150:868-871.