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Maternal and child health nurses’ experiences of implementing two community-based breastfeeding interventions in Victoria, Australia: A mixed methods process evaluation

Despite high rates of breastfeeding initiation in Australia, there is a significant drop in breastfeeding rates in the early postpartum period, and Australian government breastfeeding targets are not being met. The Supporting breastfeeding In Local Communities (SILC) trial was a three-arm cluster randomised trial implemented in 10 Victorian local government areas (LGAs). It aimed to determine whether early home-based breastfeeding support by a maternal and child health nurse (MCH nurse) with or without access to a community-based breastfeeding drop-in centre increased the proportion of infants receiving ‘any’ breast milk at four months. Focus groups, a written questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were undertaken to explore the interventions from the perspective of the SILC-MCH nurses (n=13) and coordinators (n=6), who established and implemented the interventions. Inductive thematic analysis was used to identify themes, then findings further examined using Diffusion of Innovations Theory as a framework. SILC-MCH nurses and coordinators reported high levels of satisfaction, valuing the opportunity to improve breastfeeding in our community; and having focused breastfeeding time with women in their own homes. They felt the SILC interventions offered benefits to women, nurses and the MCH service. Implementing new interventions into existing, complex community health services presented unforeseen challenges, which were different in each LGA and were in part due to the complexity of the individual LGAs and not the interventions themselves. These findings will help inform the planning and development of future programs aimed at improving breastfeeding and other interventions in MCH.


Publication Date



Australian Journal of Child and Family Health Nursing






11p. (p. 4-14)


Cambridge Media



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