Improving Breastfeeding Outcomes using an Innovative Youth- Informed Breastfeeding Program for Young Women
Mental Health, Children and Community Care
TOH-17-014 Early contact, connection, and support offered through the St. Mary’s Home Youth-Informed Breastfeeding Program provide anticipatory guidance to pregnant and parenting youth. The peer support program is inviting, and youth-friendly. Interviews with key informants identified that there is now a strong breastfeeding culture at St. Mary’s Home, a social service agency for youth. Essential components of the program have been identified. Data from participants were collected at 4 times points in order to track breastfeedinng intention, initiation, duration and self-efficacy. Preliminary results idenfity that breastfeeding intention and initiation rates are high, and breastfeeding duration rates appear to be longer compared with those who do not receive the intervention. This program can be implemented at other agencies, and easily tailored to meet local needs, thereby improving breastfeeding rates in Ontario.
TOH-17-014 We designed and implemented an innovative youth-informed breastfeeding (BF) program. The primary objective is to evaluate the impact of this program on BF self-efficacy, intention, initiation and duration in young mothers. The secondary objective includes identifying recommendations to enable future implementation of the program elsewhere. We recruited participants ≤24 years at a large urban youth outreach centre. Participants were enrolled in their 3rd trimester, and followed-up postnatally at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, and 6 months. At the first contact, participants were asked about their feeding intention and prenatal education received. At each follow-up contact, participants were asked about feeding history, BF supports received, or reasons for weaning if applicable. At each time point, participants completed the Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale- Short Form. Interviews (7) were completed with 10 key stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of the program. Essential components include: offering prenatal BF education; offering a peer support program which includes pregnant and parenting youth; hiring a dynamic program facilitator who has strong skills in working with youth; training and supporting youth to be peer-mom leaders; offering incentives to encourage participation; reducing barriers to accessing the program; ensuring adequate adminsitrative support; leveraging existing community partnerships; creating a culture of BF support through staff training in BF best practices; and planning for sustainability. Preliminary findings have identified BF intention and initiation rates are high, and BF duration rates appear to be longer compared with those who do not receive the intervention. The peer support program is adaptable to meet the diverse needs of youth and can be scaled to other sites in Ontario.