Introduction: In Jordan, women's traditional way of breastfeeding has altered with rates declining in recent years.  

Objective: The objectives of this study were to test whether the introduction of an educational program supporting breastfeeding would increase the proportion of women who breastfed fully to six months, improve the women's level of breastfeeding knowledge, and decrease the proportion of infants admitted to hospitals due to gastrointestinal illnesses.

Methods:  A randomized controlled trial was conducted in 90 primiparous women who had given birth to a healthy, full term, singleton baby at two hospitals in the southern region of Jordan. Women were randomly allocated to either the intervention group (n=45), in which they were offered a one-to-one postnatal educational session and follow-up phone calls at two months and  four months postpartum, or the control group (n=45), in which they received routine postnatal care.  The primary outcomes were the proportion of women fully breastfeeding their babies at six months and the women's level of breastfeeding knowledge at six months postpartum.

Results: The postnatal education and support program significantly improved breastfeeding knowledge measured by differences between mean pre- and post-test scores. This was statistically significant for the intervention group (p<0.001) but was not significant for the control (p=0.23).  The proportion of women fully breastfeeding their babies at 6 months was not found to be statistically significantly different between the intervention group (39%) and the control group (27%) (χ2=3.54, p> 0.05)  

Conclusions: Although the postnatal education and support program improved breastfeeding knowledge among women in the study, this increase in knowledge did   not translate to an increase in the duration of full breastfeeding to six months.

International Journal of Nursing Studies (2011) doi:10.1016/ j.ijnurstu.2011.02.001