An experimental study was conducted with twenty-one breast-feeding primiparas during the initial four-week post-partal period to test the effect of in-home community health nursing assessment and counseling on the breast-feeding success rate. It was hypothesized that mothers receiving assessment and counseling regarding physical, informational and psychosocial needs, would be more successful than those who were not counseled.

Criteria for success were: (1) breast-feeding at four weeks postpartum, (2) an adequate milk supply as evidenced by no need for formula supplementation to keep the baby satisfied, (3) an infant weight gain of one to two pounds during the four-week period, and (4) the mother's statement of satisfaction with the breast-feeding experience.

Twenty-one mothers from Navy Regional Medical Center in San Diego, California, who attended the American Red Cross Preparation for Parenthood- LaMaze classes, were selected to participate in the study. All mothers were primiparas with no known complications or contraindications for breast feeding.

The researcher made home visits to eleven mothers in the experimental group for a period of four weeks. Each experimental group mother was visited within seventy-two hours of hospital discharge. During the first home visit a brief physical assessment of the mother and infant was done to evaluate the physical status and elicit questions from the mother. In addition, instructional materials from Navy Regional Medical Center, concerning breast-feeding and infant care, were reviewed and discussed. Each experimental group mother was visited a minimum of two times and called weekly by the researcher. During the final home visit at four weeks post-partum (which was made to both control and experimental group mothers) infants were weighed and mothers completed a short questionnaire pertaining to the breast-feeding experience.

Analysis of the data showed that experimental group mothers receiving community health nursing assessment and counseling, breast-fed their babies longer and gave fewer supplemental feedings than control group mothers. However, a "t" test performed on the mean score of each group (number of breast-feeding days and number of supplemental feedings) showed no significant difference between the two groups.

Although a total of six mothers discontinued breast-feeding before they had planned, only three (two in the control and one in the experimental group) expressed dissatisfaction with the breast-feeding experience. Mothers in the experimental group expressed a higher degree of satisfaction with the breast-feeding experience than mothers in the control group but the difference was not statistically significant.

Analysis of data showed that more mothers who received assessment and counseling were successful than those who did not receive assessment and counseling. However, a Chi square analysis showed no statistical significance between the two groups and therefore the hypothesis could not be rejected. At the end of the four-week period 82 percent of the experimental and 60 percent of the control group mothers were successfully breast-feeding. These findings were in the direction of the working hypothesis and may indicate that in-home assessment and counseling of the breast-feeding primipara during the early post-partal period may promote breast-feeding success.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Ruth M. White

Second Advisor

Audrey Burgess

Third Advisor

Kay Kuzma

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Breast Feeding; Public Health Nursing



Page Count

vii; 84

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