Background: Research has demonstrated that breast milk significantly decreases morbidities that impact length of stay for preterm infants, but there is a need to test interventions to improve breastfeeding outcomes. Since many Americans are using technologies such as the Intranet and smartphones to find health information and manage health, a Web site was developed for mothers who provide breast milk for their preterm hospitalized infants.
Purpose: This study examined the efficacy of a Web site for mothers to educate them about breast milk expression and assist them in monitoring their breast milk supply.
Methods: Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from mothers whose preterm infants were hospitalized in a level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or transitional care unit (TCU) in an urban academic medical center in the Midwest.
Results: Eighteen mothers participated in evaluation of the Web site. Thirteen mothers consistently logged on to the password-protected Web site (mean [standard deviation] = 13.3 [11.7]) times. Most participants, (69.2%), reported they used the breast milk educational information. Most mothers indicated that using the Web site log helped in tracking their pumping. These findings can be used to direct the design and development of web-based resources for mothers of preterm infants IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:: NICU and TCU staffs need to examine and establish approaches to actively involve mothers in monitoring the establishment and maintenance of an adequate supply of breast milk to improve neonatal health outcomes.
Implications for research: An electronic health application that incorporates the features identified in this study should be developed and tested.