A controlled study on baby-friendly communities in Italy: methods and baseline data

Breastfeed Med. 2013 Apr;8(2):198-204. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2012.0130. Epub 2013 Feb 11.


Aim: This study reports the research methods and baseline data of a project aimed at assessing the effect of an intervention based on the 7 Steps of the Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) on the rate of exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months in Italy.

Subjects and methods: In this controlled, nonrandomized study, nine Local Health Authorities were assigned to an early and nine to a late intervention group. Data on breastfeeding in infants followed up from birth to 12 months were gathered at baseline and in two subsequent rounds, after the 7 Steps were implemented in the early and late intervention groups, respectively. Step-down logistic regression analysis, corrected for the cluster effect, was used to compare breastfeeding rates between groups.

Results: At baseline, there were no significant differences in breastfeeding rates at birth (n=1,781) and at 3 (n=1,854), 6 (n=1,601), and 12 (n=1,510; loss to follow-up, 15.2%) months between groups. At birth, 96% of mothers initiated breastfeeding, 72% exclusively (recall from birth). At 3 months, 77% of infants were breastfed, 54% exclusively with 24-hour and 46% with 7-day recall. At 6 months, the rate of any breastfeeding was 62%, with 10% and 7% exclusive breastfeeding with 24-hour and 7-day recall, respectively. At 12 months, 31% of the children continued to breastfeed.

Conclusions: The project is ongoing and will allow estimation of the effect of the BFCI.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding* / statistics & numerical data
  • Community Participation
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care / organization & administration
  • Infant Welfare
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Maternal Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Maternal Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Organizational Policy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Program Development / statistics & numerical data
  • Program Evaluation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Nations