Mothers Milk

Mother’s Milk Messaging


Evaluation of a bilingual app to support initiation and exclusive breastfeeding in new mothers (MMM)

Funded by the Kellogg Foundation, this project seeks to facilitate uptake of and sustained breastfeeding for first time mothers, with a particular effort to reach out to African American and Latina mothers. The project aims to reduce disparities in Breastfeeding among these groups and to extend the benefits of breastfeeding to their infants through an interactive mobile app with instructional videos, a social support group and motivational text messaging.

Mothers Milk

Background

The World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics and UNICEF all recommend that mothers should breastfeed to maximize health benefit for mothers and infants and reduce child mortality. Racial/ethnic disparities persist particular in African-American mothers whose breastfeeding initiation and duration rates fall dramatically short of recommendations. Latino women initiate breastfeeding at higher rates but exclusivity and duration remain suboptimal.

Objective

1) To solicit feedback from first time mothers on an app designed to support initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding;
2) To pilot test the feasibility of using this app to increase and maintain breastfeeding among a diverse sample.

Results

Fourteen women participated in focus group discussions online. Consensus was that the app would be useful and appreciated; most indicated they would read text messages and engage in other app features. Women expressed strong preferences for confidentiality for any interactive and group features. Beta-test results from 9 participants revealed needed changes to push notifications and log in features to make the app more user friendly. Sixty women enrolled in the pilot, 23 in the intervention and 37 in the control, which had no exposure to the app. At three months post intervention we observed that 95% of those in the intervention were currently breastfeeding compared to 83% of controls, and 95% of those in the intervention were breastfeeding more than 80% of the time compared to 78% of the controls (NS). There was a mean increase in scores for self-efficacy in breast feeding of 7.1 for those in the intervention and 3.9 for those in the control (NS).

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