Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
The purpose of this project was to highlight an intervention to increase breastfeeding initiation and exclusive breastfeeding during the birth hospitalization in a coastal mid-Atlantic inner city hospital. Although researchers and national standards promote early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding, there continues to be a significant number of women who do not breastfeed and/or supplement with formula. The advantages of breastfeeding for mother and infant are substantial and include protecting babies from allergens to reducing maternal breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding rates of initiation and exclusivity at the project hospital were below benchmarks set by international, national, and state agencies. The project intervention utilized bedside RNs who were educated and trained by the Perinatal Unit Clinical Nurse Specialist and the unit lactation counselors on bedside lactation support. The educational intervention capitalized on Dennis's theory of breast-feeding self-efficacy, which emphasizes maternal confidence in breastfeeding success. A convenience sample of breastfeeding rates of initiation and exclusivity from one month's delivered mothers pre-intervention (n = 203) compared to one month's breastfeeding rates of delivered mothers post-intervention (n = 220) was derived from electronic medical record nursing documentation and formed the data points for analysis. Outcome measures demonstrated an institutional increase in rates of breastfeeding initiation and in breastfeeding exclusivity. Chi-square analysis of both outcomes was not statistically significant; however progression towards the benchmarks was made, demonstrating clinical significance. Future social change from the project's success will be evident in reduction of sequelae from the above named maternal and infant acute and chronic illnesses.