Online Program

Dedicating space for breastfeeding in childcare: A qualitative study from a multi-state sample of childcare facilities

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Katherine Stern, MPH, Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, Omaha, NE
Daniel Schober, PhD, MPH, Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, Omaha, NE
Eric Calloway, Ph.D., R.D., Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, Omaha
Amy Yaroch, PhD, Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, Omaha, NE
Background: In the U.S., over 57% of mothers work and many rely on childcare. Organizational conditions for breastfeeding are vital to ensuring mothers breastfeed for the recommended duration (6-24 months). However, less is known about how to modify childcare facilities to assure breastfeeding occurs. This study examined how childcare centers modified their facilities to dedicate space for breastfeeding.

Methods: Interviews (N=31) with center directors across six states were conducted. Each center had recently participated in a national program that aimed to improve policies and practices for physical activity and nutrition, including the promotion of breastfeeding. We used a grounded theory approach, conducting semi-structured, qualitative interviews to examine: a.) Motivation to create dedicated breastfeeding space, b.) The process of bringing about this change, and c.) The implementation and enforcement of this change. Interviews were conducted until theoretical saturation was reached. Data was analyzed using NVivo.

Results: Out of the 31 interviews completed, key themes for motivating change included: seeing media stories on breastfeeding, anticipating nursing mothers to enter the program, and breastfeeding trainings. Change also involved informal conversation, formal staff brainstorming, planning, and dedicating time and effort to change. A lack of remodeling skills, time, and money were cited as barriers to creating dedicated space for breastfeeding. Internal staff training, updating parent materials, and dedicated efforts to ensure maintenance of the space was also discussed.

Conclusion: A minimal amount of time, technical support, and funding can potentially enable most centers to improve their breastfeeding environments.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the process that childcare centers use to dedicate space for breastfeeding Identify the resources and barriers to dedicating space for breastfeeding Name key steps that childcare centers have taken to ensure breastfeeding space is used and maintained

Keyword(s): Breastfeeding, Caregivers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received my Master's of Public Health from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Maternal and Child Health. I served as a researcher and project manager on this project.
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.