Breastfeeding Awareness Has Increased, According to Crivelli-Kovach Manuscript
Philadelphia area hospitals have an increased awareness about breastfeeding and enhanced support of breastfeeding by healthcare professionals, yet formula supplementation in hospitals and contact time between mothers and their newborns continue to be areas of concern identified in a manuscript by Dr. Andrea Crivelli-Kovach, Associate Professor and Director of Community Health Programs, published in the April 15 issue of Breastfeeding Medicine.
Crivelli-Kovach was awarded the designation of MCHES (Master Certified Health Education Specialist) and is one of the first cohort of CHES professionals to be awarded this designation after a review of her work in health education and public health over the past five years.
Her manuscript is “An Evaluation of Hospital Breastfeeding Policies in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area 1994–2009: A Comparison with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Ten Steps,” with co-author Esther K. Chung, M.D., M.P.H.
“The purpose of this study was to describe current breastfeeding policies and practices among Philadelphia, Pa., metropolitan hospitals and changes in their policies and practices over time,” according to the abstract.
Methods included in-person group interviews conducted to obtain a composite picture of actual breastfeeding policies and practices. “One questionnaire per hospital was completed based on responses from group consensus,” according to the abstract. “Twenty-five hospitals providing maternity care were contacted. Information was obtained from personnel representing different areas of maternity services. Hospitals were classified according to the degree to which they were implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.”
Their results showed “mean breastfeeding rates at suburban hospitals were significantly higher than urban hospitals (73% vs. 48%, p¼0.015). Most hospitals were classified as high or moderately high implementers on seven of the Ten Steps, including hospital policies (76%), staff training (65%), printed information distributed to breastfeeding mothers (100%), breastfeeding initiation (59%), oral breastfeeding instruction given to mothers (94%), infant feeding schedules (88%), and hospital postpartum support (100%). Most hospitals reported partial or low implementation on two maternity practices: infant formula supplementation (59%) and rooming-in (70%).”
They concluded: “In the past 15 years, hospitals in the Philadelphia area have an increased awareness about breastfeeding and enhanced support of breastfeeding by healthcare professionals. In spite of an increase in overall breastfeeding rates, formula supplementation in hospitals and contact time between mothers and their newborns continue to be areas of concern.”