Stakeholder views of breastfeeding education in schools: a systematic mixed studies review of the literature
[Review of ]. INTERNATIONAL BREASTFEEDING JOURNAL, 12.
Breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits for mothers and infants, but worldwide breastfeeding rates fall below recommendations. As part of efforts to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration, the World Health Organization and UNICEF UK recommend educational interventions to increase awareness and positive attitudes towards breastfeeding beginning during the school years. Breastfeeding education in the school setting offers the opportunity to improve the knowledge base, address misconceptions, and positively influence beliefs and attitudes for students from a wide range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. The purpose of this paper is to present a comprehensive narrative review of the literature regarding student and teacher (stakeholder) views of breastfeeding and breastfeeding education programs in schools to inform future research in the area.Articles were located through a systematic search of online databases and journals using the following keywords in various combinations: (1) breastfeeding, lactation, breast-feeding, "bottle feeding", "infant feeding" (2) student, educator, teacher, "school administrator" and (3) schools, "secondary education", "primary education", "K-12", "high school", "middle school", "elementary school", education, adolescents, curriculum, and a manual search of article references. Studies were screened for inclusion against specific criteria and included papers were assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT).This review suggests that adolescents have a deficit in breastfeeding knowledge and express negative conceptions about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is being discussed in some school environments, but the extent of lessons and the specific messages that teachers communicate have not been explored. Students appear to be interested in receiving more information about breastfeeding, especially if delivered by health professionals or breastfeeding mothers. The majority of teachers are supportive of incorporating breastfeeding education in family and consumer sciences, sexual education, and health classes; however, time constraints and limited knowledge of infant feeding recommendations may be barriers to implementation of appropriate lesson plans.Students generally support and are receptive to breastfeeding education; however, research on educator attitudes, knowledge, and experiences are necessary for appropriate implementation of breastfeeding education in varying school settings around the world.