2018 journal article
North Carolina Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers' Infant Feeding Education Practices and Attitudes: A Mixed Methods Study
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 50(7), S162–S163.
Background (Background, Rationale, Prior Research, and/or Theory): Despite recommendations by the World Health Organization and UNICEF UK to include infant feeding education in secondary school classrooms, the views and practices of educators regarding this topic have been studied minimally. Objective: To explore North Carolina (NC) family and consumer sciences (FCS) teachers' infant feeding education practices and attitudes. Study Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention: Using a sequential mixed methods design, researchers conducted interviews and a statewide survey with current NC FCS teachers. The qualitative phase consisted of a purposive sample of 19 teachers. The survey was completed by a convenience sample of 137 teachers. Outcome Measures and Analysis: Semi-structured telephone interviews explored teachers' current infant feeding education practices and their views on incorporating breastfeeding education in FCS classrooms. Transcripts were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Researchers developed a valid and reliable 33-item survey to assess FCS teacher attitudes and practices. Descriptive statistics were conducted for all measures using SPSS. Results: The majority of NC FCS teachers are supportive of including infant feeding (86.9%) and breastfeeding (84.7%) education in high school. Approximately half agreed with including infant feeding (51.9%) and breastfeeding (46.7%) content in middle school. Teachers reported teaching about infant feeding in both middle and high school, with breastfeeding content primarily covered in Parenting and Child Development. Topics most frequently taught in other courses focused on the introduction of solid foods and spoon feeding, infant feeding patterns, food allergies, and safe formula preparation and storage. Conclusions and Implications: NC FCS teachers are open to teaching about breastfeeding and human lactation at the secondary school level in courses that cover infant development, life cycle nutrition, and childcare. Including information about infant feeding and breastfeeding in schools would improve knowledge of evidenced-based infant feeding recommendations and facilitate a society that is more accepting and supportive of breastfeeding. Funding: Triangle Breastfeeding Alliance.