Investigating the effectiveness of infant feeding school-based education on the breastfeeding knowledge and attitudes of adolescent female students
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Objective: To design and pilot test a school-based educational breastfeeding intervention on the breastfeeding knowledge, attitudes and future infant feeding intentions of secondary school adolescent females. Design: A one-group, pre-test/post-test, quasi-experimental design Methods: A convenience sample of 77 adolescent secondary school female students received one 70-minute educational breastfeeding session during health education classes in a secondary school in Ontario. Data was collected using self-administered questionnaires at baseline and one day post-intervention. A modified version of the Iowa Infant Feeding Attitude Scale (IIFAS) and a modified Breastfeeding Knowledge Scale were used to measure breastfeeding attitudes and knowledge of participants. Additional outcomes measures included future breastfeeding intentions and students’ perceptions of the educational session. Results: Breastfeeding knowledge (p<0.001), attitude (p<0.001) and future intentions of participants to exclusively breastfeed increased significantly (p<0.05) at post-test. The participant feedback indicated that they found the content useful, interesting and the information was presented in an engaging manner. Conclusion: These findings suggest that adolescent female students may be receptive to learning about breastfeeding in school and a single school-based educational breastfeeding intervention can positively impact their breastfeeding knowledge, attitude and future intentions. The secondary school setting may be an appropriate setting for the inclusion of educational breastfeeding content to increase awareness of the benefits, importance and physiology of human lactation and enable future informed decision making.