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Keywords:

  • breastfeeding duration;
  • breastfeeding exclusivity;
  • breastfeeding self-efficacy;
  • China;
  • primiparous mothers;
  • self-efficacy;
  • self-efficacy intervention;
  • self-efficacy theory;
  • short-term breastfeeding outcomes

Abstract

Aims

To evaluate the effects of a breastfeeding intervention on primiparous mothers' breastfeeding self-efficacy, breastfeeding duration and exclusivity at 4 and 8 weeks postpartum.

Background

Few studies have examined the effects of breastfeeding self-efficacy on improved breastfeeding outcomes among primiparous mothers in China.

Design

An experimental pre-test and posttest, two-group design was used in the study.

Methods

A total of 74 participants were recruited to the study from a tertiary hospital in central China, from June–October 2012. An individualized, standardized nursing intervention based on the Self-Efficacy Theory was delivered to enhance mothers' breastfeeding self-efficacy, breastfeeding duration and exclusivity at 4 and 8 weeks postpartum. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention or referent group. Participants in the intervention group received three individualized, self-efficacy-enhancing sessions. Participants in the referent group received standard care.

Results

Participants in the intervention group showed significantly greater increases in breastfeeding self-efficacy, exclusivity and duration than participants in the control group at 4 and 8 weeks postpartum (except for duration at 4 weeks). High baseline breastfeeding self-efficacy predicted higher breastfeeding self-efficacy later and more exclusive breast-feeding.

Conclusion

The findings in this study suggest that intervention aimed at increasing self-efficacy has a significant impact on maternal breastfeeding self-efficacy and short-term breastfeeding outcomes.