Anita Berry


This experimental study tested the effect of prenatal instruction on the success of a group of mothers who desired to breast feed their infants. It was hypothesized that mothers receiving information on how to nurse their infants, how to prevent complications and how to cope with common problems of breast feeding would have a higher success rate than those not so instructed.

Criteria for success was that the mothers would have an adequate supply of milk to meet the nutritional demands of their infant without supplementation, would have fewer and less severe complications, and would express a higher degree of satisfaction with their breast feeding experience.

Fourteen mothers from Riverside General Hospital and Loma Linda University Medical Center participated in the study. These mothers were from the lower socioeconomic classes, had not breast fed before, and demonstrated no contraindication to breast feeding.

Mothers in the study group viewed a film strip on the art of breast feeding followed by a discussion of key points on how to prevent complications, the process of the "let-down" reflex and nutritional demands of the infant in relation to growth. Each mother was given a booklet outlining these points. The control group did not receive any instruction other than what was normally provided by the clinic and hospital.

Each mother was visited in the hospital and at home at two, three, four and five weeks post partum or until breast feeding was discontinued if it was prior to five weeks. The purpose of the hospital visit was to obtain the birth weight, length and head circumference of each infant. During each home visit, the infant was weighed and at the final visit the length and head circumference were again taken. The presence and severity of lactation complications of the mother were assessed. At the final visit, the mother completed a questionnaire pertaining to her satisfaction with the breast feeding experience.

Analysis of the data showed that mothers receiving prenatal education did breast feed their infants longer and gave fewer complementary or supplementary feedings. A Chi Square analysis was significant at the .05 level. The mother's concept of insufficient milk production was the most common reason for discontinuance of breast feeding although all infants demonstrated adequate growth in weight, length and head circumference.

The Mann-Whitney Test of the degree of complications indicated a significant difference at the .05 level with mothers in the study group perceiving that they had less severe complications. Sore nipples Was the most common complication. No correlation was shown between the length of breast feeding and the number of complications.

Mothers in the study group expressed a higher rating of satisfaction with their breast feeding experience although this was not statistically significant. There was a significant correlation between the length of breast feeding and rating of satisfaction among the control group but not the study group.

Based on the analysis of the data obtained in this study, it was concluded that prenatal education did significantly influence the success of breast feeding mothers.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Clarice Woodward

Second Advisor

Betty Lonnstrom

Third Advisor

Jerome Niswonger

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Breast Feeding; Mother-Child Relations -- education



Page Count

vii; 81

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives