A team of researchers, at UCLA and our PHFE WIC Program, led by our Director of Research and Evaluation, Dr. Shannon Whaley, and others completed a cross-sectional study to examine the changes in Baby-Friendly hospital practices, breastfeeding outcomes, and their relationships with Baby-Friendly hospital status among WIC-enrolled children living in Los Angeles County. The study concluded that the more Baby-Friendly hospital practices mothers met, the better the breastfeeding outcomes.
Other highlights from this research conclude:
-The uptake of Baby-Friendly hospital practices in Baby-Friendly hospitals could be improved
-Sharing this data with hospitals that are not currently on the path to Baby-Friendly status
Background: Breastfeeding rates among low-income children participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) lag behind national rates. In Los Angeles County (LAC), recent efforts have been made to increase the number of Baby-Friendly designated hospitals. This study examines changes in Baby-Friendly hospital practices, breastfeeding outcomes, and their relationships with
Baby-Friendly hospital status among WIC-enrolled children in LAC.
Methods: Cross-sectional data from the triennial LAC WIC Survey (2008 through 2017) were analyzed (n = 6,449) to examine changes in Baby-Friendly hospital practices over time, and differences in breastfeeding outcomes by specific Baby-Friendly hospital practices. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship between the number of Baby-Friendly hospital practices that mothers met and any and exclusive breastfeeding outcomes.
Results: In 2017, mothers surveyed were more likely to engage in Baby-Friendly hospital practices compared with 2008. Any and exclusive breastfeeding outcomes at 1 and 3 months significantly increased since 2014, and breastfed infants were more likely to have mothers who participated in Baby-Friendly hospital practices. The more Baby-Friendly hospital practices mothers met, the better the breastfeeding outcomes. However, there is room for improvement in the uptake of Baby-Friendly hospital practices in Baby-Friendly hospitals.
Conclusion: Effort is needed to ensure Baby-Friendly hospitals have support to continuously comply with all steps to maintain Baby-Friendly designation, and non-Baby-Friendly hospitals have support to incorporate these practices into hospital protocols.
Keywords: Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, breastfeeding, breastfeeding duration, breastfeeding practices,
exclusive breastfeeding, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
The study is published in the journal, BREASTFEEDING MEDICINE.
Read the abstract and access the full study: Breastfeeding Outcomes Among WIC-Participating Infants and its Relationships to Baby-Friendly Hospital Practices>