Breastfeeding Support in Spanish Neonatal Intensive Care Units and the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: A National Survey

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Abstract

Background:

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) has a positive effect on breastfeeding in maternity wards; however, few studies have examined to what degree it affects care in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Recently, the BFHI has been adapted to the NICUs (Neo-BFHI).

Objective:

This study aimed to compare breastfeeding support in Spanish NICUs in hospitals with BFHI accreditation or in the process of being accredited (group 1) with NICUs in hospitals that have not yet begun this initiative (group 2).

Methods:

A validated questionnaire on breastfeeding support was distributed to level II and III NICUs in Spanish public hospitals. A univariate analysis and an analysis adjusted for the number of beds in NICUs were conducted. The results of the analysis of 36 breastfeeding support measures are presented in accordance with the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding adapted to NICUs.

Results:

Of the 141 participating NICUs, 129 (91%) responded to the questionnaire: 38 NICUs from group 1 and 91 NICUs from group 2. Group 1 had implemented a higher number of breastfeeding support measures than group 2. There were significant differences in 18 measures related to steps 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8 of the Neo-BFHI. In addition, a comparison of NICUs in hospitals with full accreditation (7 of 129) with those in group 2 revealed significant differences in 7 measures pertaining to steps 2, 5, 8, and 9.

Conclusion:

The Spanish NICUs in hospitals with BFHI accreditation or in the process of being accredited have better implementation of practices to promote and support breastfeeding.

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