A feasibility study of an intervention to enhance family support for breast feeding in a deprived area in Bristol, UK.Midwifery. 2004 Dec; 20(4):367-79.M
to assess fathers' and grandmothers' knowledge of breast feeding and their ability to support successful breast feeding. To design a suitable intervention for fathers and grandmothers to support breast-feeding mothers, to assess the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention and monitor its likely effects on breast-feeding rates.
qualitative focus groups and interviews. Evaluation of the feasibility of an antenatal intervention.
Community Health Centre and family homes in an area of relative social and economic deprivation in South Bristol, UK, from November 2001 to May 2003.
10 grandmothers and five fathers in focus groups and interviews. Twenty-nine families in the intervention.
an antenatal intervention for grandmothers or partners to support breast feeding, which combined the benefits and mechanics of breast feeding with ways of providing support for breast feeding.
using an antenatal session based around a leaflet, specifically written for grandmothers and partners, and including a demonstration of good breast-feeding positioning and attachment in addition to the discussion of specific issues around the health benefits and mechanics of breast feeding was found to be acceptable, useful and enjoyable by all participants, particularly for first-time parents. The importance of fathers and grandmothers in providing emotional and practical support for breast-feeding mothers is highlighted, since those who were still breast feeding at eight weeks all felt that they were receiving similar or better support postnatally than they were antenatally. Significantly more intervention mothers were breast feeding their babies at eight weeks than in the wider practice population of mothers outside the study who intended to breast feed. Fathers' attitudes to breast feeding postnatally were fairly similar to those before the baby was born with breast feeding in public and knowing how much milk the baby was getting having the most influence on whether they felt that their partner should continue to breast feed.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE
this type of intervention could be part of a multi-faceted approach towards improving breast-feeding initiation and continuation, particularly in areas of low prevalence. Health professionals should be opportunistic about involving other family members in discussions about breast feeding whenever possible, both antenatally and postnatally.