Evaluation of Ready, Set, BABY: A prenatal breastfeeding education and counseling approach

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BackgroundComprehensive prenatal education on infant feeding is recommended by many United States health organizations because of the need to maximize maternal preparedness for managing lactation physiology. Ready, Set, BABY (RSB) is a curriculum developed for counseling women about breastfeeding benefits and management including education on optimal maternity care practices. We hypothesized that RSB would be acceptable to mothers and that mothers' strength of breastfeeding intentions would increase, and their comfort with the idea of formula feeding would decrease after educational counseling using the materials. We also hypothesized that mothers' knowledge of optimal maternity care practices would increase after participation.MethodsMaterials were sent to a total of seven sites in the United States and Puerto Rico. Local health care practitioners completed training before counseling mothers with the curriculum. A pre- and postintervention questionnaire was administered to participants. Statistical analysis of results included paired t tests, Wilcoxon signed-rank tests, and McNemar's tests.ResultsFour hundred and sixteen expectant women participated. In the pre- and postintervention comparison, maternal participation in RSB significantly improved Infant Feeding Intentions Scale scores (P < 0.001) and knowledge of Baby-Friendly recommended maternity care practices (P < 0.001), while significantly decreasing comfort with the idea of formula feeding (P < 0.001). The education materials were positively rated by participants.ConclusionsThe findings indicate that the approach of using RSB in prenatal counseling group classes or individual sessions improves breastfeeding intentions. Future testing is needed to determine the effectiveness of the materials for impacting breastfeeding outcomes.

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