Breastfeeding provides significant health benefits to mothers and infants. Improving awareness surrounding breastfeeding practice can encourage mothers to engage in this practice and improve nursing rates. Breastfeeding awareness can be increased through community outreach, improved sex education, informing mothers of its benefits and promoting breastfeeding imagery in the public forum.
1. Improve Education About Breastfeeding Benefits
Education within a single class of high school students can affect breastfeeding attitudes, according to 2013 research published in the "Southern Medical Journal." In the study, education about the benefits of nursing improved attitudes, increased knowledge and improved reported intentions by women to nurse later. Education about breastfeeding beginning at the high school level might improve awareness along with providing much lacking education on the subject.
2. Community Outreach Programs
Research in the "Southern Medical Journal" indicates that programs that provide staff training, peer counseling activities and outreach activities in the community were effective in increasing awareness and breastfeeding promotion among Women, Infants, and Children program populations. Through the use of motivational videos, improved education of staff members and increased therapeutic supports, community-based initiatives might be able to increase awareness and improve breastfeeding rates among targeted groups.
3. Encourage Images of Nursing Mothers
A 2010 study in the "Journal of Community Practice" used four life-sized cutouts of mothers nursing their infants. The cutouts were placed in various locations around Bristol, England. Evaluations about the public's response to the pictures indicated that attitudes about nursing in public can be altered along with raising breastfeeding awareness. This suggests that encouraging public depictions of nursing mothers in addition to encouraging actual mothers to nurse in public might have the ability to raise awareness and sway public opinion.
4. Ensure Mothers Are Informed
The journal "Breastfeeding Medicine" reports that simply informing mothers about the World Health Organization's recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for six months increased nursing rates by 26 percent. Mothers who were informed about the recommendation also had longer breastfeeding duration rates than those who were unaware of the recommendations. Informing new mothers about the benefits of nursing along with the national recommendations might increase breastfeeding awareness and lead to improved breastfeeding rates.
- Journal of Community Practice: 'Cut Out For Breastfeeding': Changing Attitudes to Breastfeeding.
- Southern Medical Journal: Comparison of Breast-Feeding Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs Before and After Educational Intervention For Rural Appalachian High School Students.
- Southern Medical Journal: Evaluation of a Comprehensive Loving Support Program Among State Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program Breast-Feeding Coordinators.
- Breastfeeding Medicine: Awareness of Breastfeeding Recommendations and Duration of Breastfeeding: Findings From the Healthy Beginnings Trial.
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