Exploring the impact of education on midwives attitudes to breastfeeding using extracts from a video-based breastfeeding module

Authors: Taylor, A.M.

Conference: International Confederation of Midwives: 28th Triennial Congress

Dates: 1-5 June 2008

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Background The promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding is an international public health priority (WHO 2003), yet in many developed countries, including the UK, breastfeeding continuation rates are persistently low (Hamlyn et al. 2002). A contributory factor appears to be a paucity of education that uses a biopsychosocial approach (Dykes 2006). The use of individual narratives is one approach which is thought to close the gap between the subjectivity and distinctiveness of human experience and the scientific objectivity of the physical state of the mind and body (Hurwitz et al. 2004). Aim To explore the impact that education has on midwives’ attitudes to breastfeeding. Methodology This pilot study used women’s narratives of their lived experience of breastfeeding, selected from the Bournemouth/DIPEx breastfeeding module, together with some guided learning material, in a self-managed study package. A two-phase sequential mixed methods approach, using questionnaires with graphic rating scales, compared midwife’s attitudes to breastfeeding, before and after the educational experience. Focus groups enabled discussion about how and why the package impacted on their learning and attitudes to breastfeeding. Analysis was thematic. A convenience sample of 12 midwives undertaking post-registration education in 2007 was recruited. Results The questionnaires demonstrated a regression in midwives’ attitudes following the educational experience. The focus groups provided powerful illustrations of attitudinal change, sometimes resulting in feelings of ‘guilt’, with a deep desire to improve support for breastfeeding women. Whilst midwives valued cognitive learning, affective change was not recognised as constituting learning. Start-End dates 11/06-11/07 Conclusions This study confirms the significance of using women’s personal narratives in the promotion of reflective practice, integrating affective and cognitive learning into undergraduate education. Ethical approval from the University Research Governance Group was gained.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Alison Taylor