Educating Housekeeping Staff to Encourage a Culture Supportive of Breastfeeding

J Perinat Educ. 2023 May 1;32(2):116-126. doi: 10.1891/JPE-2021-0033.

Abstract

Latina women breastfeed at high rates immediately postpartum but also frequently introduce formula. Formula negatively affects breastfeeding, and maternal and child health. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) has been shown to improve breastfeeding outcomes. A BFHI-designated hospital must facilitate lactation education for clinical and non-clinical personnel. Housekeepers, often the sole hospital employees sharing the linguistic and cultural heritage of Latina patients, have frequent patient interactions. This pilot project at a community hospital in New Jersey investigated Spanish-speaking housekeeping staff's attitudes and knowledge regarding breastfeeding before and after implementing a lactation education program. After the training the housekeeping staff overall had more positive attitudes toward breastfeeding. This may, in the short-term, contribute to a hospital culture more supportive of breastfeeding.

Keywords: Latina; baby-friendly; breastfeeding; housekeeping; postpartum.