Improving breastfeeding support services through brief daily digital data collection.
Meet the team
- Pat Watson, Research Fellow, Teesside University
- Prof. Vida Zohoori, Professor of Public Health and Nutrition, Public Health Research Centre Lead, Teesside University
- Ros Nunn, Infant Feeding and Maternal Healthy Weight Co-ordinator, Public Health Prevention in Maternity, North East & North Cumbria Integrated Care system; NIFN North East Regional Lead
What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?
Improving breastfeeding rates can save the NHS over £50million per year, improve population health, decrease medicine, health and social-care use and reduce health inequalities. The NHS and LAs aim to support mothers who want to breastfeed for as long as they wish. Over-stretched services require better data on breastfeeding practices – instances, duration and impact – to facilitate this. The only breastfeeding data currently collected by the Office National Statistics is “baby first milk breastmilk” and is “baby still breastfeeding at 6-8weeks”. This is woefully inadequate and raises questions as to how NHS/LAs can provide services breastfeeding mothers (BFM) need? Using digital mobile-friendly tools we will gather real-time data by following BFM on their daily journey. The anonymised data will be shared with health professionals enabling them to gain useful insight and develop services which will provide better outcomes for the physical and mental health of mothers and babies.
What does your project aim to achieve?
- Test the feasibility of collecting daily data from BFM using digital tools
- Explore if detailed data will increase providers’ understanding of the nature and timing of breastfeeding issues
- Collect real-time survey data from BFM (approx. 200) about their daily experience and evaluate experience of taking part in study
- Identify and analyse issues and trends experienced by BFM
- Facilitate workshops for providers using QI approach to develop an understanding of the challenges and create actionable outcomes to improve breastfeeding support for mothers.
Current anecdotal information will be transformed into an evidence base. Having a better understanding of the issues BFM face will enable commissioners and service providers to tailor resources and support to the needs of mothers, enabling mothers to continue breastfeeding for as long as they wish and not switch to other feeding methods when a crisis occurs.
How will the project be delivered?
An advisory group of service providers, commissioners, BFMs and researchers will support and guide the project throughout including co-designing study, risk and money management and facilitating gatekeeping access to participants.
To develop a deeper understanding of the issues, we will use Appreciative Inquiry with providers (infant feeding co-ordinators and health visitors):
- Workshop 1– Discover and Dream – What is going well? What else is possible?
- Survey BFM – brief daily online survey; demographic; evaluation of taking part – recruitment will focus on areas of low breastfeeding rates, particularly mothers from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Workshop 2 – Design – What would it look like? Using the data gathered through the surveys on challenges – what can be done to support BFM to breastfeed for longer, what will it look like and who needs to be involved?
- Workshop 3 – Destiny/Deliver and evaluate – What can we do to make sustainable changes to support BFM?
How is your project going to share learning?
We aim to demonstrate that through the use of digital technology it is now possible to proactively ask patient/service users about their health and wider experiences in real-time. Although piloting with breastfeeding, we believe that this approach is useful for other physical and mental health areas. We will use the learning from this feasibility project to apply for additional funding to further develop the concept.
- Present learning to the National Infant Feeding Network North East North Cumbria (NIFN NENC), participating LAs and BFM networks
- Share the learning with other Q members
- Produce a short report for the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) on Infant Feeding and potentially present to the group
- Peer-reviewed journal article.
How you can contribute
- Are there any Q members who work with breastfeeding mothers in geographical areas of high breastfeeding rates? Why has it worked in your area, but not in other areas such as the North East? In the North East breastfeeding rates are 50% initiation but dramatically drop to 34% within the first 6-8 weeks (and in some areas only 26%)
- Is anyone aware of other studies that ask users questions daily?
- General sense checking – what issues do you foresee in this project?
- Does anyone have expertise conducing daily surveys?
- Do you think using Appreciative Inquiry is useful for this sort of project?
- Which Liberating Structure/s have you found works well in conjunction with Appreciative Inquiry?
|1 Sep 2022||Project starts; convene advisory group and co-design survey|
|8 Sep 2022||Design and create mobile-friendly survey tool|
|1 Dec 2022||Workshop 1 - Discover and dream - What is going well?|
|16 Dec 2022||Regulatory approvals received|
|4 Jan 2023||Launch survey, recruit BFM|
|31 Mar 2023||Surveys close|
|3 Apr 2023||Analyse data from surveys|
|2 May 2023||Workshop 2 - Design - Using new insights - What could services look like?|
|31 May 2023||Report to Q on progress|
|15 Jun 2023||Workshop 3 - Destiny/ Deliver and evaluate - How to create sustainable changes?|
|26 Jun 2023||Dissemination activities|