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July 1997

Hospital Infant Formula Discharge Packages: Do They Affect the Duration of Breast-feeding?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics (Drs Dungy, Romitti, and Dusdieker) and the Iowa Social Science Institute (Dr Losch), University of Iowa, Iowa City; and the Departments of Psychology and Statistics, Iowa State University, Ames (Dr Russell).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(7):724-729. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170440086015

Objective:  To determine whether the duration of breastfeeding is affected by the contents of the hospital discharge package.

Design:  A randomized clinical trial with 2 experimental interventions (a discharge package containing a manual breast pump only and a discharge package containing a commercially prepared infant formula and a manual breast pump) and a control group who received a commercially prepared infant formula discharge package only. Sociodemographic characteristics and information concerning prior births (including feeding methods) were obtained from each mother within 48 hours of her infant's birth. Sources of influence on the mother's feeding decision, maternal attitudes concerning breastfeeding, and maternal feeding preferences were also assessed.

Participants:  The sample consisted of 763 women who had given birth who were admitted to the maternal-fetal unit of a midwestern community hospital.

Main Outcome Measures:  Information concerning current method of infant feeding was obtained from telephone interviews conducted at 2-week intervals until the infant was 16 weeks old. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, multivariate analysis of variance, logistic regression analysis, and survival analysis.

Results:  The content of the hospital discharge package did not affect whether the mother engaged in exclusive or partial breast-feeding during the 16-week follow-up interval. However, there was some evidence that providing formula samples at discharge from the hospital increased the duration of exclusive breast-feeding compared with providing a manual breast pump.

Conclusion:  This study does not support the assumption that inclusion of infant formula in hospital discharge packages decreases the duration of breastfeeding.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:724-729