Implementing a Breastfeeding Toolkit for Nursing Education

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Abstract

All health professional organizations recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months, with continued breastfeeding for 1 year or more after birth. Women cite lack of support from health professionals as a barrier to breastfeeding. Meanwhile, breastfeeding education is not considered essential to basic nursing education and students are not adequately prepared to support breastfeeding women. Therefore, a toolkit of comprehensive evidence-based breastfeeding educational materials was developed to provide essential breastfeeding knowledge. A study was performed to determine the effectiveness of the breastfeeding toolkit education in an associate degree nursing program. A pretest/posttest survey design with intervention and comparison groups was used. One hundred fourteen students completed pre- and posttests. Student knowledge was measured using a 12-item survey derived with minor modifications from Marzalik's 2004 instrument measuring breastfeeding knowledge. When pre- and posttests scores were compared within groups, both groups' knowledge scores increased. A change score was calculated with a significantly higher mean score for the intervention group. When regression analysis was used to control for the pretest score, belonging to the intervention group increased student scores but not significantly. The toolkit was developed to provide a curriculum that demonstrates enhanced learning to prepare nursing students for practice. The toolkit could be used in other settings, such as to educate staff nurses working with childbearing families.

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