Evaluation of a Community Health Nurse/Peer Counselor Program to Help Low-Income Women Breastfeed Longer

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00608088
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : February 6, 2008
Last Update Posted : February 6, 2008
Information provided by:
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

Brief Summary:
This research was done to better understand how new mothers who are breastfeeding feel and the questions they have. We wanted to use ways to help new mothers to breastfeed successfully. We compared a new approach (home visits and telephone calls) to the usual care given at Johns Hopkins Hospital with strong support to new mothers from nurses, and a peer counselor (another mother with breastfeeding experience).

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Breastfeeding Rates Behavioral: Usual Care Behavioral: Community Health Nurse/Peer Councelor Team Phase 3

Detailed Description:

Healthy People 2010 included the goal of increasing breastfeeding duration to 6 months for 50% of all mothers. Other professional and national health organizations and the Health and Human Services Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding recommend that women breastfeed exclusively for six months. Increasing breastfeeding among low-income women is a priority, as disparities exist. Only 20.1% of low-income women (on WIC) breastfeed for six months compared to 40.7 % of more affluent women. Consistent, comprehensive, culturally sensitive breastfeeding support increases duration of breastfeeding, thus offering well-documented health benefits often specifically appropriate for low-income women. Breastfeeding relates to lower formula cost, lower health care costs, and breastfeeding may be less time consuming. These cost savings can potentially offset costs of breastfeeding promotion. Facilitating breastfeeding among low-income women includes comprehensive and culturally relevant support in the hospital, during the first week postpartum, and periodic support in the mother's home. Nearly 35% of low-income women stop breastfeeding within eight days of delivery. Repeated contact with supportive persons such as peer counselors and nurses, affects the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding practice after the immediate postpartum period. However, support for low-income women has been neglected and not made available because of generally unsubstantiated claims that it is not cost effective. The breastfeeding intervention used an enhanced traditional community health nurse/peer counselor home visit, which is no longer usual care for contemporary community health nursing practice, along with in-hospital and telephone support. The overall hypothesis was the intervention group will have improved breastfeeding outcomes and will demonstrate a net cost savings over usual care.

The consent form explained the purpose of the study; the actual number of visits and telephone calls (if randomized into the intervention group) and the data collecttion procedures. There were no identified risks for those enrolled in the study. Incentives included $105 if the participant completed each data point.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 328 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Official Title: Support for Low-Income Breastfeeding: Cost and Outcomes
Study Start Date : March 2003
Actual Primary Completion Date : August 2006
Actual Study Completion Date : August 2006

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Breastfeeding

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: 1
Usual Care
Behavioral: Usual Care
The usual care group will received standard care from the Johns Hopkins Hospital lactation consultant and nurses, which may have included a visit in the hospital by the lactation consultant if mothers delivered Monday through Friday. The lactation consultant was also available by request. A "warm-line" was also standard. This was a telephone line that was connected to an answering machine; the lactation consultant checked this line once daily (Monday through Friday) and returned calls.

Active Comparator: 2
Health Nurse/Peer Councelor Intervention
Behavioral: Community Health Nurse/Peer Councelor Team

Visits by a community health nurse/peer counselor team during the first six postpartum months. Based on prior research and experience, the team was developed to provide culturally relevant support and health-care education to low-income mothers, who were a high percentage of African American women. The goals of this team were to 1) increase the duration of breastfeeding while emphasizing ways to decrease fatigue, and decrease breast discomfort; 2) strengthen maternal competence with breastfeeding and commitment to breastfeeding; 3) provide parent education about the infant regarding breastfeeding; 4) provide/find social support needed for continued breastfeeding; and 5) foster linkages to community services that will facilitate the maintenance of breastfeeding.

The specific activities of the CHN/peer counselor team included hospital visitation after enrollment, home visiting during the first postpartum month, and telephone support throughout the first six postpartum months.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Breastfeeding Rates [ Time Frame: March 2003 - August 2006 ]
  2. Breastfeeding duration [ Time Frame: March 2003 - August 2006 ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Cost Implications of a Nurse/Peer Councelor Program [ Time Frame: March 2003 - August 2006 ]
  2. Infant indicies related to cost [ Time Frame: March 2003 - August 2006 ]

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Ages Eligible for Study:   12 Years to 44 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • breastfeeding
  • low-income (WIC eligible)
  • English speaking
  • telephone available (includes pager or close family member)
  • full-term singleton birth, with no cranio-facial abnormalities
  • neonate was admitted to the normal newborn nursery (not the NICU)
  • negative drug screen for mother and infant.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • inability to meet the above criteria

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00608088

United States, Maryland
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Principal Investigator: Linda C Pugh, PhD, RNC, FAAN Johns Hopkins University; York College of Pennsylvania

Publications of Results:
Responsible Party: Gayle G. Page RN, DNSc, FAAN, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Identifier: NCT00608088     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: FWA 0006088
NIH/NINR - R01 RN007675
First Posted: February 6, 2008    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: February 6, 2008
Last Verified: January 2008

Keywords provided by National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR):
Breast feeding
randomized clinical trial