A Breastfeeding Quality Improvement Project in Rural Primary Care

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Breastfeeding is the gold standard nutrition for infants, and more than three-fourths of US mother-infant couplets initiate breastfeeding at birth. However, breastfeeding rates plummet after hospital discharge, when mother-infant couplets enter primary care. This quality improvement project examined the effect of a primary care intervention on breastfeeding rates from the newborn visit through the 4-month visit.


The overall aim of this evidence-based quality improvement project was to increase breastfeeding rates by refining the care provided to a diverse patient population with historically low breastfeeding rates.


Two independent groups of mother-infant couplets, a pre-implementation (N = 43) and a post-implementation (N = 45), were longitudinally evaluated on breastfeeding rates at the newborn, 1-month, 2-month, and 4-month well-child visits for exclusive, partial, and any breastfeeding rates. Relationships for the 2 groups were compared using 2-sample t tests, chi-square, and Fisher exact tests.


Post-implementation rates for any breastfeeding progressively increased at each timepoint. Exclusive breastfeeding increased 40.98% at the 1-month visit, 27.4% at the 2-month visit, and 139% at the 4-month visit.


The implementation of an evidence-based breastfeeding-friendly office protocol in a rural low breastfeeding rate primary care setting was associated with increased breastfeeding rates.

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