Increasing Exclusive Breastfeeding Rates Following Delivery

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Lisa Spencer, MBA-NM
Labor & Deliery and High Risk Obstetrics, Universtiy of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, TX, USA
Julia Snethen, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN
College of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA
Tammy L. Cupit, PhD
UTMB Health System; School of Nursing, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA


Breastmilk is the ideal nutritional option for infants, as it is the most effective nutrition for ensuring infants attain their optimal growth and development. Unfortunately, within the UTMB system it was noted that only 15% of infants were being exclusively breastfed after delivery in 2016. In an effort to increase the rates of infants receiving the nutritional benefit of breastmilk, it was important to explore options for becoming a baby friendly hospital, and increase the rates of mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding after delivery. Therefore, an initiative with EMPower was created to begin the process of increasing the rates of mother’s exclusively breastfeeding following delivery at the UTMB maternity hospital. As a component of this Baby Friendly initiative, it was important to ensure the staff nurses are adequately prepared to effectively participate in supporting mothers to breastfeed.

Aim /Purpose

The aim of this quality improvement project was to identify staff nurses attitudes towards breastfeeding and increasing the rates of exclusive breastfeeding in infants after delivery at UTMB. The purpose of the project is to increase exclusive breastfeeding rates after delivery at the UTMB maternity hospital.


Participants in the descriptive study were registered nurses (N = 200) who work in the women, infant and children division at the University of Texas Medical Branch maternity hospital. Participants all received a formal education program from the EmPower initiative and participated in an additional 3 hour in person skills training fair led by a lactation specialist. Additionally, all of the participants are in the process of completing a 2 hr clinical experience with a lactation consultant. Upon completion of the educational sessions, participants will be completing the Iowa Infant Feeding Attitudes Scale (IIFAS) to identify their attitudes towards breastfeeding. Data on exclusive breastfeeding rates that is routinely collected for quality improvement purposes will be obtained for 1 month prior to the participants completion of the formal educational program, and 1 month following the completion of the formal educational program. Data analysis will include obtaining descriptive statistics and conducting correlations.


Final results for this study are still pending, however, at present 100% of the participants have completed their formal breastfeeding educational program, and the rates of exclusive breastfeeding has gone from 15 % prior to the breastfeeding educational program, to 58.1%.


The preliminary data would suggest that the educational program has been effective, as there has been a 43% increase in the rates of exclusive breastfeeding after delivery.