The Effect of Training Nursery Staff in Breastfeeding Guidance on the Duration of Breastfeeding in Healthy Term Infants

E.S. Shinwell, Y. Churgin, M. Shlomo, M. Shani, O. Flidel-Rimon
Breastfeeding Medicine. 2006, 1(4): 247-252.


Background: Promoting breastfeeding is a central aim of child health care. It is critical to develop approaches that are inexpensive, effective, and suitable across cultural and socioeconomic groups.

Objective: To study the effect of training perinatal–neonatal nursing and medical staff in breastfeeding guidance on the duration of breastfeeding in a middle-income urban population.

Methods: This was an interventional study with data collection before and after. The intervention was an intensive course on breastfeeding guidance provided to all of the neonatal nurses and midwives in a local general hospital (2001–2002). Data were collected on two cohorts of mothers and infants (before −1999 [n = 471], after −2003 [n = 364]) regarding the duration of breastfeeding and factors influencing its discontinuation.

Results: The rate of breastfeeding initiation rose from 84% to 93% (p = 0.0001) and the mean duration of breastfeeding rose from 3.7 ± 3.7 to 5.6 ± 4.3 months (p = 0.0001). The rate of breastfeeding in the delivery room rose from 3% to 37% (p = 0.0001). Satisfaction with breastfeeding guidance in the hospital rose from 43% to 79% (p = 0.0001). However, there was no change in the proportion of mothers who planned to breastfeed this infant (88% in both cohorts) and no significant differences in the reasons given by the mothers for stopping breastfeeding.

Conclusion: Training hospital nursery staff in breastfeeding guidance is a potential, cost-effective intervention even in settings with relatively high rates of breastfeeding.