Newborns should be exclusively breastfed during the first six months of life with continued breastfeeding until at least 12 months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. This can be difficult when new breastfeeding families have to rely on child care facilities because of the need to return to work at a certain time. What kind of breastfeeding support, if any, they can rely on the child care center? This question has interested a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Nursing Penn).
The team – led by Diane Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, professor of perinatal nursing and Professor Helen M. Shearer Term of Penn Nursing Nutrition – investigated individual attention child attitudes centers’ and related policies breastfeeding in two different areas in Philadelphia. His research concluded that there is much room for improvement in education and training for child care providers and staff on the benefits of breastfeeding and human milk. The results were published online in The American Journal of Maternal / Child Nursing .
The researchers, who included Emily Garth, BSN, and Abigail Messer, BSN, both graduates of Penn nursing data collected by compiling a list of child care centers – a total of 166 in all – in the study areas (city center, Philadelphia and West Philadelphia). They then conducted telephone surveys of schools that met the inclusion criteria. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
A total of 47 centers completed the survey. Ninety-five percent of respondents indicated that centers not feed a baby anything besides breast milk, unless specifically stated in an eating plan. Interestingly, only forty percent of these centers had trained the staff of the benefits of breastfeeding and how to prepare and store human milk. That means that sixty percent of responding centers had not been properly trained personnel.
“We were surprised by our results, due to the high number of centers indicated that they would continue human milk eating plan, but a large number of them had no staff was trained on how to handle the situation, “Spatz said. This study shows that widespread education of child care providers and staff is absolutely necessary to ensure compliance with the guidelines support breastfeeding. It also helps in proper dissemination of information about breastfeeding families.