Evidence-Informed Practice Change – Increasing Breastfeeding Exclusivity in Hospital

Peel Public Health (ON)


The Challenge

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life has short and longer term benefits for mother and infant. Breastfeeding support begins prenatally with education and a supportive community environment, continues through delivery and the early postpartum period in hospital, and is followed by community-based programming during the first weeks and months of the infant's life. Healthy term infants are being supplemented with infant formula during their initial hospital stay. At Trillium Health Partners, 95 percent of mothers say they intend to breastfeed. However, 50 percent of infants have already received infant formula before discharge, usually within the first 24 hours of life. .

The Improvement Project

The goal of this EXTRA project is to address the gap between the 95 percent of mothers who say they intend to breastfeed and the 50% of mothers who leave hospital without infant supplementation. The intervention will be nested within the prenatal support provided by Peel Public Health to strengthen mothers' intention to breastfeed, and the postnatal care offered in the community post discharge. This EXTRA improvement project is a partnership between Peel Public Health and Trillium Health Partners and it demonstrates how health care organizations can work across the sector to provide end-to-end patient support for exclusive breastfeeding.