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PP-095 Increasing breastfeeding rates through clinician education
  1. Brian Keating,
  2. Farhana Sharif
  1. Midlands Regional Hospital Mullingar


Aim Ireland and Northern Ireland have the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world (5–12% at 6 months, EU average 25%, world average 40%). Current breastfeeding education is sporadic and not standardised for medical students and doctors. We aimed to investigate the impact of short education sessions on clinicians’ confidence and knowledge.

Material and Method Healthcare professionals working in paediatrics and general practice completed a short questionnaire about their subjective knowledge on the physiological benefits of breastfeeding and confidence in counselling parents on the benefits, they also completed a knowledge assessment. A 35-minute tutorial on the science of breastmilk targeted at healthcare professionals was devised. Participants completed a second questionnaire and knowledge assessment after the presentation

Results 57% of participants had no previous formal breastfeeding education prior to this study, including at an undergraduate level and 100% of respondents felt further training in breastfeeding would be beneficial to their practice and enhance their ability to counsel and encourage current and future parents to breastfeed. There was a degree of cognitive bias, 70% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they could explain the mechanisms behind the benefits of breastfeeding, however average pre-tutorial knowledge scores were only 24% indicating the physiology was poorly understood. After the 35-minute intervention tutorial, average knowledge scores increased over 45% to 70%,

Conclusions A short science-based targeted presentation, greatly increased knowledge and confidence scores in doctors and nurses across all levels. Healthcare professionals acknowledge the importance of increasing breastfeeding rates to ameliorate healthcare inequalities, however they lack the knowledge-base to adequately counsel and explain the benefits to potential parents. Short, targeted educations sessions should be formally introduced to trainees on post-graduate training programmes in GP, obstetrics and paediatrics.

  • breastfeeding
  • education
  • primary prevention
  • training
  • teaching

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