The impact of breastfeeding peer support for mothers aged under 25: a time series analysis
Scott, Sarah and Pritchard, Catherine and Szatkowski, Lisa (2016) The impact of breastfeeding peer support for mothers aged under 25: a time series analysis. Maternal and Child Nutrition . ISSN 1740-8709
Breastfeeding has known positive health benefits for babies and mothers, yet the UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding initiation rates in Europe. Despite national guidance that recommends provision of breastfeeding peer support, there is conflicting evidence regarding its effectiveness, especially in high-income countries, and a lack of evidence among young mothers. This study evaluates the effectiveness of a breastfeeding peer support service (BPSS) in one UK city in increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration in young mothers. Routinely collected data were obtained on feeding method at birth, 2 and 6 weeks for all 5790 women aged <25 registered with a local general practitioner and who gave birth from April 2009 to September 2013. Segmented regression was used to quantify the impact of the introduction of the BPSS in September 2012 on the prevalence of breastfeeding at birth, 2 and 6 weeks, accounting for underlying trends. Results showed that breastfeeding prevalence at birth and 2 weeks began to increase month-on-month after the introduction of the BPSS, where previous figures had been static; prevalence at birth increased by 0.55 percentage points per month (95% CI 0.10–1.00, P = 0.018) and at 2 weeks by 0.50 percentage points (95% CI 0.15–0.86, P = 0.007). There was no change from an underlying marginally increasing trend in prevalence at 6 weeks. In conclusion, our findings suggest that a one-to-one BPSS provided by paid peer supporters and targeted at young mothers in the antenatal and post-natal periods may be beneficial in increasing breastfeeding initiation and prevalence at 2 weeks.
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