Leading Nursing Journal Publishes a Study on the Factors that Affect Breastfeeding Confidence

The benefits of breastfeeding are well established, and factors that affect breastfeeding outcomes have been reported. Many of these factors are not modifiable. However, other modifiable factors, including self-efficacy or confidence, can be useful as elements to design interventions to attain breastfeeding goals. In a recently published survey, the investigator found that “breastfeeding confidence was positively correlated with birth satisfaction, partner support of breastfeeding, intention to breastfeed, intention to breastfeed exclusively for six months, and feeling prepared for birth.”
The September/October 2016 issue of Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN) from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), includes a study in which the author examines the psychosocial factors that can affect breastfeeding confidence in mothers in the postpartum period. In “Predictors of Breastfeeding Confidence in the Early Postpartum Period,” author Katherine Hinic, PhD, RNC, APN, identifies these key factors and recommends specific strategies that nurses can use to enhance the confidence of, and promote sustained breastfeeding among, new mothers.
For many women, positive birth experiences and breastfeeding confidence can be achieved in part through effective communication and involvement in decision-making during labor and birth. Nurses and other women’s health care providers should be educated about how modifiable, psychological factors, such as breastfeeding self-efficacy, can be used to inform the design of effective strategies for breastfeeding support.
“This study reveals critical data points that underscore the pivotal roles nurses play in helping new mothers establish breastfeeding confidence and consequently in supporting infant and maternal health,” said AWHONN CEO, Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN. “AWHONN supports breastfeeding as the ideal method for feeding infants.”
Sixty percent of women stop breastfeeding earlier than planned, even though breastfeeding infants during the first year of life can significantly reduce morbidity rates and foster healthy outcomes for the women and infants. According to Hinic, breastfeeding self-efficacy is one of the most significant predictors of breastfeeding success, and mothers who are more confident about breastfeeding in the early postpartum period are more likely to breastfeed longer and have higher levels of exclusive breastfeeding.
The Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN), is an internationally ranked scientific and technical journal published bimonthly by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. JOGNN is online at jognn.org
Since 1969, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) has been the foremost authority promoting the health of women and newborns and strengthening the nursing profession through the delivery of superior advocacy, research, education, and other professional and clinical resources. AWHONN represents the interests of 350,000 registered nurses working in women’s health, obstetric, and neonatal nursing across the United States. Learn more about AWHONN at www.awhonn.org.