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Keywords:

  • breast-feeding;
  • health education;
  • duration of breast-feeding;
  • nurse

Successful breast-feeding as a result of a health education programme for mothers

The present study aims to prove an improvement in breast-feeding practices in mothers who received written instructions for successful breast-feeding and had individual counselling at the time of taking this questionnaire. The instructions were based on the results of a study carried out in Slovenia in 1993 and published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing (1998), 27, 1250–1256 (Hoyer & Pokorn 1998). The variables that were then found statistically significant in the initial and continued breast-feeding became the basis of written instructions for breast-feeding. The results obtained in the new current study were compared with that basic study which included 881 mothers. This was possible because the conditions of breast-feeding between 1993 and 1995 (when the new study was launched) had not changed. The idea of baby-friendly hospital initiative (BFHI) had not yet come into force in Slovenia. The current study comprised 203 pregnant women who were first visited during their 8th month of pregnancy. In order to collect data on breast-feeding and deliver instructions, a field nurse visited each mother eight times until the completion of first year and continued to visit them every third month and for all those who were still breast-feeding after that time, until the end of the lactation period. Statistical analysis was carried out by means of SPSS statistical package and survival analysis. All mothers in the study started breast-feeding. By the end of the first month 84·7% of them were still breast-feeding, while by the end of the third month it dropped to 74·9%, and by the end of the sixth month to 45·8%. Among these, breast-feeding alone was practised in the first week by 25·7%, by the end of the first month by 16·4%, and by the end of the third month by 9·5%. All the observed parameters were better than in the basic study. The mean duration of breast-feeding was 217 days, while the longest duration was 852 days. The survival analysis showed a statistically significant difference in the duration of breast-feeding. In the current study group, mothers weaned their infants at a slower rate than in the group from the year 1993. It has been found that the written instructions as well as personal encouragement by the field nurse exerted a favourable influence on breast-feeding practices, which was taken as a guideline for our further professional work and change of standards in the field of breast-feeding promotion.