Date of Award

Summer 6-15-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition

First Advisor

Anita Nucci, PhD, RD, LD

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the attitudes of WIC Nutritionists regarding current WIC breastfeeding programs as well as their suggestions for potential interventions to promote breastfeeding within WIC. Methods: WIC Nutritionists from three counties in Georgia were emailed a link to a brief survey regarding their demographics, breastfeeding promotion at their clinics, and perceived barriers and interventions for discussing breastfeeding in their clinics. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: Twenty-seven WIC Nutritionists from Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale counties and the District Office completed the survey. All of the respondents indicated that they believed breastfeeding is important and that their clinics are providing breast pumps and peer support groups for mothers who have chosen to breastfeed. The vast majority (92.6%) indicated that they are very likely to discuss breastfeeding with pregnant mothers during their initial session. Lack of interest was reported by 37% to be the primary barrier to discussing breastfeeding with mothers, and the most popular intervention reported was educational programs for family members of the mother (26%). Conclusion: WIC Nutritionists in Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale counties have positive attitudes toward breastfeeding and provide support for mothers seeking it in the form of education and resources early in pregnancy. Each clinic should have the opportunity to determine the key barriers to breastfeeding in their clinic population and find evidence-based interventions that will best serve their clients.

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