The Effect of Post Partum Breastfeeding Peer Support on Breastfeeding Success Outcomes
The health benefits of breastfeeding are well documented and exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life is the target of national and global health care organizations. Although initial breastfeeding is on the rise, the percentage of infants still breastfeeding at six months drops significantly. In the population of newly delivered mothers of an obstetric practice, there is no readily accessible breastfeeding support offered following hospital discharge. A review of relevant literature revealed that lack of support is often cited as a key factor in the discontinuation of breastfeeding, whereas the evidence shows that participation in peer support has a positive effect on breastfeeding self-efficacy, which can have a positive effect on breastfeeding duration.
To address this problem, the initiation of a breastfeeding closed social network Facebook group for this practice setting population was developed and implemented to provide readily accessible peer support and have a positive effect on the outcome of breastfeeding self-efficacy. Three months after initiation of the Facebook group, an anonymous voluntary survey was offered to group members, and 25 members participated in the survey. Responses demonstrated that peer support is helpful with breastfeeding confidence and that, following participation in the group, the respondents wanted to continue breastfeeding.