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Primary Care Residents Benefit From Breast-Feeding Course

Curriculum linked to improved practice patterns, knowledge, higher breast-feeding rate

TUESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Primary care residents who participate in a breast-feeding curriculum have improved knowledge, practice patterns, and confidence in breast-feeding management compared with residents who do not participate in the curriculum, and babies at their institutions are more likely to be breast-fed exclusively six months after the intervention, according to research published online July 5 in Pediatrics.

Lori Feldman-Winter, M.D., of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Camden, and colleagues conducted a prospective study of 417 primary care residents to determine if a breast-feeding curriculum would improve physicians' knowledge and confidence regarding breast-feeding and increase rates of breast-feeding among patients. This curriculum was implemented in six residency programs, with seven residency programs acting as controls.

The researchers found that residents who completed the breast-feeding curriculum had more post-test knowledge, better practice patterns, and more confidence in breast-feeding management than did residents in the control programs (odds ratios, 2.8, 2.2, and 2.4, respectively). Infants born at the intervention hospitals were more likely to be exclusively breast-fed at six months than infants born at the control hospitals (odds ratio, 4.1).

"Training residents to improve care of breast-feeding patients influences practices throughout the medical institution, which leads to increased rates of breast-feeding. Opportunities for additional research depend on a wider dissemination of the curriculum to residency programs through the Web site and measurement of the ultimate goal of increased rates of breast-feeding initiation, exclusivity, and duration," the authors write.

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