Teaching new mothers about infant feeding cues increases breastfeeding duration

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Burian, Charlene A.
Kandiah, Jayanthi
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Thesis (M.S.)
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
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The purpose of this study was to determine if teaching low income prenatal women about infant feeding cues instead or in addition to the standard WIC education about the benefits of breastfeeding would serve to increase breastfeeding duration. One hundred ninety seven prenatal women who qualified for the federal Women Infants and Children Special Supplemental Feeding Program were divided into an experimental (E, n=51) or a control (C, n=139) group. The C group was given the WIC standard education of the benefits of breastfeeding by a nutritionist or nurse (CPA), the E group was given information about hunger cues that an infant exhibits by a lactation consultant during their WIC nutrition appointments. Data were analyzed by means of survival analyses, Kaplan Meier and Cox Regression. Data for 52 weeks indicate no statistically significant difference between the groups (chi square= 1.548, df=l, p=0.213). However data for 26 weeks indicated a stronger probability of continuing breastfeeding. Breastfeeding duration for C and E groups was 14.3±17.4 weeks and 18.5±17.1 weeks respectively (chi square=2.907,df=l,p=0.088), representing a 28% better duration. Findings suggest that prenatal women need information about infant behavior to help determine if they are adequately feeding their babies in order to maintain breastfeeding for longer duration.