Nurse staffing as a predictor of exclusive breastfeeding at hospital discharge

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University of New Brunswick


Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of life because of the known health benefits. Despite this, less than 21 % of New Brunswick mothers meet this recommendation. The focus of most investigations of exclusive breastfeeding has been on maternal and infant characteristics that influence this practice rather than factors within the healthcare organization, such as nurse staffing. A secondary analysis of administrative data was conducted to examine whether hours of nursing care per patient day help predict the likelihood of mothers' exclusively breastfeeding at time of hospital discharge after accounting for maternal and infant characteristics. Mothers who were younger, had a cesarean birth, or initiated breastfeeding more than 30 minutes post delivery were less likely to exclusively breastfeed at hospital discharge. In this study, hours of nursing care per patient day was not a statistically significant predictor of exclusive breastfeeding at hospital discharge. Possible explanations for this finding are offered.