What Were They Thinking? Measuring the Breastfeeding Beliefs and Attitudes of Obstetric Nurses
Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
© 2012 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Special Issue: 2012 Convention Proceedings
Volume 41, Issue s1, pages S155–S156, June 2012
How to Cite
Greene-Hughes, S. and Bry, K. (2012), What Were They Thinking? Measuring the Breastfeeding Beliefs and Attitudes of Obstetric Nurses. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 41: S155–S156. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01362_53.x
- Issue published online: 14 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
- baby-friendly hospital initiative;
- beliefs and attitudes of nurses
Nation-wide breastfeeding rates remain low despite a decade of programming on state and local levels. Beliefs and attitudes of nursing obstetric staff may enhance or hinder the success of breastfeeding initiatives due to subtle messaging. The purpose of this work is to describe the impact of an educational intervention on attitudes and beliefs regarding breastfeeding to foster a baby-friendly hospital.
An intervention study on staff attitudes and beliefs with the use of a reliable and valid tool was conducted with nursing staff. Labor and delivery and postpartum nurses from a large midwestern urban hospital responded to the Breastfeeding Beliefs, Bottle Feeding Beliefs, and Breastfeeding Attitudes Attitude Survey at baseline and following intervention. Following the initial survey, staff were provided with a 5-hour educational intervention “Bridges to Breastfeeding” provided by members of the Illinois Department of Health, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program and breastfeeding advocates.
One hundred thirty-nine staff nurses.
Pre- and post-intervention survey of nurses’ beliefs and attitude.
Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in the analysis with significance determined with a p-value of <.05. A total of 139 surveys were analyzed. Eighteen stem questions were grouped into four categories: beliefs and attitudes regarding infant health, medical concerns, effect on activities of daily living, and privacy and intimacy. There were increases in scores in three of the four categories. Statistically significant findings were identified in the medical and maternal convenience sections. Results also demonstrated a difference between breastfeeding beliefs and attitudes among the obstetric staff. Postpartum nurses had three times the overall positive change in scores compared with the labor and delivery respondents.
Conclusion/Implications for Nursing Practice
Breastfeeding beliefs and attitudes of the surveyed nurses were affected positively following an educational intervention. Key areas were those related to infant health and nutrition, maternal convenience, and the medical effects of alcohol, tobacco, and junk food. There was no measurable impact on questions related to intimacy or privacy indicating that these beliefs and attitudes were not ideally addressed by the educational offering and may be better addressed through sensitivity training. Understanding what nurses were thinking challenged our assumptions, redirected our training efforts, and identified a commonly cited finding: that some barriers to raising breastfeeding rates may be grounded in nurses own beliefs and attitudes.