Policies and Practices Related to Breastfeeding in Massachusetts

Hospital Implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

Published in: Maternal and Child Health Journal, v. 10, no. 3, May 2006, p. 247-263

Posted on RAND.org on May 01, 2006

by Tarayn A. Grizzard, Melissa Bartick, Margaret Nikolov, Beth Ann Griffin, Kimberly G. Lee

Read More

Access further information on this document at rd.springer.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

BACKGROUND: Hospital policies and practices related to breastfeeding may have long-term health effects. The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (WHO/UNICEF) provide an evidence-based standard, which may be used to assess individual hospitals. We assessed implementation, and factors related to implementation, of the Ten Steps in Massachusetts hospitals. METHODS: We surveyed postpartum nurse managers at 43 (88%) of the 49 Massachusetts maternity hospitals by telephone. Survey items characterized hospital policies, breastfeeding education, and support practices. We classified hospital implementation of the Ten Steps as high, moderately high, partial, or low and used Massachusetts Department of Public Health hospital data to analyze factors related to implementation. RESULTS: Levels of implementation of the Ten Steps ranged from high to partial. Overall, we classified implementation of 2% of hospitals as high, 58% moderately high, 40% partial, and 0% as low. Hospitals with high/moderately high levels of implementation significantly differed from hospitals with partial implementation with respect to pacifier usage (p=0.0017) and postpartum breastfeeding instruction (p=0.0001). Requirement of a physician order for formula was a statistically significant (p=0.02) predictor of Step 1 implementation but did not reach significance (p=0.14) overall. Acceptance of free formula was significantly associated (p=0.03) with overall Ten Steps implementation. CONCLUSION: Rates of self-reported implementation of the Ten Steps are relatively high in Massachusetts. Step 1 implementation is significantly associated with formula availability, and overall implementation with acceptance of free formula. Continued assessment is needed to confirm these results in larger samples and to examine the relationship of implementation of individual steps, breastfeeding rates, and health outcomes.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.