Objective: Breastfeeding is the preferred nutrition for infants, but many pediatricians report inadequate training to advise mothers who breastfeed. This study was designed to examine the effect of an educational intervention on pediatric residents' knowledge about breastfeeding, their confidence in addressing lactation issues, and their management skills during clinical encounters with breastfeeding mothers.
Design: An interactive multimedia curricular intervention was designed for pediatric residents to increase their knowledge about common lactation issues. The residents completed questionnaires before and after the intervention to measure knowledge and confidence. Resident behaviors in the clinical setting were measured before and after the intervention using telephone surveys of breastfeeding mothers after a clinic visit with a pediatric resident.
Results: Forty-nine pediatric residents participated in the study. Mean knowledge scores increased from 69% before the intervention to 80% after the intervention. Significant increases in knowledge included advising mothers about low milk supply, mastitis, abscess, or using medication, and in recognizing the benefit of the decreased risk of maternal cancer. Management skills with breastfeeding mothers and infants in the clinical setting improved significantly. Before the intervention residents performed an acceptable number of behaviors 22% of the time, while after the intervention their performance was acceptable 65% of the time. Particular behaviors that showed significant improvement after the intervention included discussing signs of breastfeeding adequacy with the mother and correct management of lactation problems.
Conclusions: These results indicate that not only breastfeeding knowledge and confidence, but most importantly clinical behaviors of pediatric residents can be enhanced through innovative educational opportunities. Appropriate counseling for breastfeeding mothers by pediatricians might contribute to an increase in the duration of breastfeeding.