Impact of parenting resources on breastfeeding, parenting confidence and relationships

Crossland, Nicola orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1063-8123, Thomson, Gillian orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3392-8182 and Moran, Victoria Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3165-4448 (2020) Impact of parenting resources on breastfeeding, parenting confidence and relationships. Midwifery, 81 . ISSN 0266-6138

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Objective: Pregnancy and the postnatal period offers an opportunity to optimise maternal health. A UK-based charity has developed parenting resources – Baby Buddy smartphone app, Baby Express magazine, and ‘From Bump to Breastfeeding’ DVD – designed to complement health service care to promote maternal wellbeing, breastfeeding and positive parenting. We evaluated the embedding of these resources into maternity and early years care pathways at three sites in the north of England. Here we present results relating to the impact of the resources on breastfeeding, women’s parenting confidence, and mother–infant bonding.
Design and setting: We conducted a mixed-methods study comprising a qualitative interviews and women and care provider surveys at three sites. Women’s questionnaires were issued to two cohorts of postnatal women pre and post embedding of the resources. This questionnaire included validated scales (Iowa Infant Feeding Attitude Scale, Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy, Parenting Sense of Competency, Mother to Baby Bonding Scale), bespoke questions to elicit women’s views of the resources and infant feeding data. A survey of professionals in the post-embedding phase explored how the resources were used in practice. Interviews with stakeholders explored views of the resources and embedding process. We conducted descriptive and inferential statistics of quantitative data, and thematic analysis of qualitative data.
Findings: There were 30 stakeholder interviews, 146 professionals completed a survey, and 161 and 192 women completed a survey before and after embedding, respectively. Receipt and use of the resources was relatively low, however, overall views of the resources were positive. There was no significant change in outcomes relating to infant feeding or parenting confidence, before and after embedding. After embedding, scores on the mother to baby bonding scale were significantly more positive when compared to pre-embedding scores.
Key conclusions: While there were issues with the receipt and use of the resources, the resources were well received by women and professionals. While the resources did not appear to have influenced parents’ confidence and self-efficacy, there may be a positive impact on mother–infant bonding. Further research is needed to understand whether more focussed integration of the resources into care pathways over a longer term can increase user engagement, and the impact of such on key parenting outcomes.

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