Perinatal home visiting positively impacts breastfeeding and parenting: Findings from the Best Start LA evaluation
Background: Best Start LA (BSLA) is a community investment in downtown Los Angeles designed to improve the health, wellbeing, and development of children ages 5 and under. "Welcome Baby!" is the home visiting component of BSLA; pregnant and parenting women receive up to nine contacts to receive education and guidance on breastfeeding, infant health and development, effective parenting, and community resources. Methods: A six-year evaluation of BSLA employs mixed methods, including a longitudinal in-home survey comparing child and family outcomes at 12, 24 and 36 months of age; annual case studies; and focus groups with Welcome Baby! participants and home visitors. Outcomes of families that receive Welcome Baby! home visiting are compared to those who do not receive home visiting but live in the community. The survey sample includes 734 low-income mothers and infants; approximately 90 percent of mothers are Latino, 70 percent are immigrants. Results: Roughly 2,000 parents have received home visits from nurses and college educated parent coaches. Focus groups find that mothers place high value on Welcome Baby! and form strong bonds with home visitors. The 12-month survey finds significantly higher rates of exclusive breastfeeding, sensitive parenting behaviors, and stimulating home environments among home visiting recipients versus the comparison group. Conclusions: Welcome Baby! has a positive effect on families. Home visiting can be a critical component of perinatal care, providing valuable maternal support and education, while reinforcing critical health behaviors. Evaluation results will inform the implementation of home visiting in 13 additional communities across Los Angeles County.
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Describe and discuss perinatal home visiting practices.
Demonstrate an understanding of mixed methods approaches to evaluating home visiting models.
Assess the impacts of home visiting on infants, mothers, and families.
Keyword(s): Children's Health, Home Visiting
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Director and Principal Investigator of the Urban Institute's Evaluation of Best Start LA in the Metro LA Pilot Community. I am integreally involved with all aspects of the evaluation, including case studies, focus groups, and household survey.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.