ABA Infant feeding study

West MidlandsReproductive Health and Childbirth
Start Date: 1 Jan 2017

Assets-based feeding help Before and After birth (ABA): feasibility study for improving breastfeeding initiation and continuation

Research summary

Can we deliver and test a novel approach to supporting infant feeding for first-time mothers?

Breastfeeding can improve the health of mothers and infants, but the UK has one of the lowest rates in Europe. Many women say that more support may have helped them continue to breastfeed longer.

Across parts of the UK breastfeeding peer support services have been introduced. Peer supporters are women living in the area who have breastfed their children, have received training and offer group or individual support. However, the evidence as to whether peer support can increase how long women breastfeed for in the UK is not consistent.

We propose a 2 year study to refine and test an evidence-based infant feeding team.

We will test our new infant feeding team in two geographical areas with low breastfeeding rates. The areas have peer supporters providing support to women on a self-referral basis after the baby’s birth. Some peer supporters will receive additional training to be an infant feeding team member. Women will be recruited when pregnant with their first baby (at the 20 week scan or antenatal visit) and assigned by chance either to receive support from the feeding team or to usual support for feeding available locally.

The feeding team will telephone women after 28 weeks of pregnancy and will provide a mix of face-to-face, telephone and text contacts to support the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding, or in women who choose to formula feed, to ensure safe feeding practices.

At 3 days, 8 weeks and 6 months after birth, women will be asked how they are feeding their baby. We will measure the number and duration of feeding team visits and calls and record their content and interview women about their experiences of the feeding help.


Professor Kate Jolly