From Policy to Practice Change: Nursing Partnerships in Practice to Change Low-Income African American and Hispanic Initiation of Breastfeeding Rates


Poster Presentation

Purpose for the Program

It has been well documented in previous research that a low-income African American pregnant women are less likely to initiate and continue breastfeeding for the recommended first year of the infant's life. According to National Health and Nutritional data, breastfeeding rates include the following: non-Hispanic White (61%), Spanish-speaking Mexican American (63%), and African American (26%). Mothers with higher levels of education and income have greater breastfeeding initiation and continuation rates than mothers with low-income and low levels of education. Contributing factors are cultural, economic, educational, and social. Low-income African American mothers who have lower levels of education need additional support during and after pregnancy with follow-up continued for the first year of their infants’ lives. Previous, evidence-based, educational interventions have demonstrated success in breastfeeding initiation and duration in low-income African American and Hispanic pregnant populations.

The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate an innovative breastfeeding educational program in a large medical center in an urban setting providing maternal–child health services to primarily low-income African American and Hispanic women, where breastfeeding initiation rates stand at 45% compared with the Healthy People 2020 initiation rate of 89%. Using a practice partnership model, the aligned nursing program of the medical institution developed and implemented a program in conjunction with the maternal–child health services. This educational program begins in the antenatal clinic using the support of nursing faculty and students and continues through the intrapartum and postpartum units with post-licensure nurses.

Proposed Change

In collaboration with the multidisciplinary breastfeeding task force, which guides practice initiatives based on evidence-based practice guidelines, a comprehensive breastfeeding program will begin in the prenatal office and continue through discharge.

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

With the support of a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health 2011, $5,000 was awarded to facilitate staff breastfeeding education through in-services and reading materials. Also, patient education materials will be purchased to utilize through the continuum of perinatal services. Our goal is to increase our breastfeeding initiation rates and to emphasize the duration time for breastfeeding to ensure our newborns become healthy children and adults.

Implications for Nursing Practice

Implications for nursing practice will be discussed.