OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to determine whether implementing a program based on a clinical protocol affects breastfeeding rates within a pediatric primary care setting. Increasing breastfeeding rates is an important public health initiative identified by multiple agencies.

METHODS:

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) clinical protocol (“The Breastfeeding-Friendly Physician’s Office, Part 1: Optimizing Care for Infants and Children”) was used as a template for the provision of breastfeeding services within a pediatric primary care clinic. There were 757 mother–infant pairs included in the study. A retrospective before-and-after study design was used. Data collection points included the hospital stay, the newborn visit, and the 2-, 4-, and 6-month health maintenance visits. The 2 groups were compared to estimate the protocol’s effectiveness as a method of increasing breastfeeding rates.

RESULTS:

The results of this evaluation were positive for exclusive breastfeeding, with group comparisons showing a statistically significant increase in exclusive breastfeeding rates at all 5 time points.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our diverse patient population within a pediatric practice had increased initiation rates and exclusive breastfeeding rates after implementation of the ABM’s breastfeeding-friendly protocol. Families who receive care in a pediatric primary care setting that has implemented the ABM clinical protocol may have increased rates of exclusive breastfeeding.

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