Healthcare Professionals’ Breastfeeding Attitudes and Hospital Practices during Delivery and in Neonatal Intensive Care Units

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative designates a global effort to sustain breastfeeding. This program supports longer duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding and improvements in hospital practices. Further, healthcare professionals’ breastfeeding attitudes have been associated with the ability to provide professional breastfeeding support.

A recent study determined healthcare professionals’ breastfeeding attitudes and hospital practices before and after the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

131 healthcare professionals from the single hospital labor and delivery, maternity care, and neonatal intensive care were recruited for the study. Breastfeeding attitudes with the validated Breastfeeding Attitude Questionnaire, breastfeeding-related hospital practices, and background characteristics were gathered.

The results were as follows-

The healthcare professionals’ breastfeeding attitude scores showed a significant increase after implementing the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and became breastfeeding favorable among all professional groups in each study unit. 

Positive changes in breastfeeding-supportive hospital practices were seen. 

The infants received more frequent immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with their mothers. 

An increase in the rate of early breastfeeding and the number of exclusively breastfed infants was observed.

The completion of Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative for neonatal wards (Neo-BFHI) interventions witnessed significant improvements in the breastfeeding attitudes of healthcare professionals and in breastfeeding-related care practices.

SOURCE- Mäkelä H, Axelin A, Kolari T, Kuivalainen T, Niela-Vilén H. Healthcare Professionals’ Breastfeeding Attitudes and Hospital Practices During Delivery and in Neonatal Intensive Care Units: Pre and Post Implementing the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Journal of Human Lactation. November 2021. doi:10.1177/08903344211058373

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