Newborn Feeding Clinic service evaluation: Midwives working in partnership with chiropractors to enhance breastfeeding experiences of mothers and babies in the United Kingdom

Authors: Taylor, A.M., Way, S. and Miller, J.


Dates: 19-22 June 2017


Purpose This presentation will discuss the main findings of a service evaluation which was conducted to investigate whether an interprofessional approach by chiropractors and midwives to support breastfeeding can address suboptimal breastfeeding, enhance breastfeeding experiences of mothers and babies and increase breastfeeding rates.

Discussion Suboptimal breastfeeding has been associated with childbirth interventions (Smith 2009), exarcebated by ineffective support by healthcare workers (Hinsliff-Smith et al. 2014). Compelling evidence suggests that appropriate support offered concurrently through a range of sources results in rapid improvement of breastfeeding outcomes (Rollins et al. 2016). To support breastfeeding mothers and babies with complex problems, a newborn feeding clinic was developed by an interprofessional team of midwives and chiropractors in the UK. During each appointment, a collaborative problem solving approach was used, with practitioners from both disciplines working in partnership with the mother. To evaluate the service, mothers were requested to complete questionnaires before the support and postal questionnaires 6-12 weeks later.

Application to practice This service evaluation demonstrated that a collaborative approach between midwives and chiropractors can be useful to effectively address suboptimal feeding, improving breastfeeding outcomes. Each mother and baby and each individual case was supported in a consistent, individualised and authentic way (Entwistle 2013). Enhancing our understanding of how allied services can work in partnership to improve breastfeeding experiences and outcomes has the potential to positively influence public health.

Evidence Initial questionnaires were completed by 85 mothers with 72 (85%) responding to the follow-up survey. Before the appointment, 26% of mothers were exclusively breastfeeding compared to 86% 6-12 weeks later. Overall, maternal satisfaction was high with 93% of mothers reporting improved breastfeeding and the same number saying they would recommend the service to their friends. Future research needs to involve large scale study to identify whether interprofessional support involving midwives and chiropractors may provide additional advantages compared to routine care.

Source: Manual