Factors Influencing Breastfeeding Duration and Cessation Among U.S. Military Personnel: A Descriptive/Exploratory Electronic Survey
Dana Brown, DNP, CNP, WHNP-BC; Lisa Wetmore Locasto, DNP, RN; Thomas W. Cline, MBA, PhD
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Purpose: The primary aim of this study is to address the national public health issue of breastfeeding initiation and sustainment in relation to evidence-based practice recommendations by identifying factors associated with the duration/cessation of breastfeeding in U.S. military settings.
Methodology: A convenience sample of 615 participants was recruited with the use of social media pages and email invitations from the researcher, military affiliated breastfeeding support groups, and university veteran groups. Inclusion criteria were (a) current or prior service in U.S. military, (b) current or prior breastfeeding experience during service term, and (c) breastfed or pumped milk for a child in the past two years. Internet-based data collection was utilized with a compiled 63-item electronic survey that was accessible by internet hyperlink. The electronic survey contained breastfeeding questions from the 2012 Navy Pregnancy and Parenthood Survey Instrument and the Employee Perceptions of Breastfeeding Support Questionnaire (EPBS-Q)
Results: A total of 511 participants met inclusion criteria and 440 completed the electronic survey for a 72% completion rate. Descriptive statistics were evaluated for participant breastfeeding goal and duration in months: 60.66% had met their goal, while 39.34% had not met their breastfeeding goal. There were 140 participants who indicated a work-related reason for cessation; 42.86% of those cited multiple work-related reasons contributed to earlier than planned cessation. A series of one-way ANOVAs were conducted with key demographic variables as the independent factors and breastfeeding duration as the outcome, both race and military rank emerged significant. A high percentage of participants, 56.12% (234/433) reported there was not a designated place to breastfeed while on duty. A multiple linear regression model was conducted for the EPBS-Q instrument with breastfeeding duration as the outcome, which revealed higher levels of managerial support decreased duration.
The implications for this study suggest that breastfeeding cessation among military members may be related to the availability of a designated location to breastfeed or pump milk during the workday. This study, along with others suggests that healthcare providers are positioned to continue to evaluate how to improve breastfeeding rates among women who are likely to initiate breastfeeding and provide guidance on breastfeeding workplace support polices.
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