The development and evaluation of a breastfeeding training programme for healthcare professionals in China

  • Yuanying Ma

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Breastfeeding is widely considered the healthiest way to feed an infant. Promoting breastfeeding and increasing breastfeeding rates has become a global strategy to improve children’s health. However the latest rate of exclusive breastfeeding at six months in 2014 in China was 30% in rural areas and 16% in urban areas. Support from skilled practitioners can positively influence breastfeeding initiation rates, duration and women’s breastfeeding experience.
    This research aims to develop and evaluate a new breastfeeding training programme for professionals to improve support for breastfeeding mothers in China. Mixed research methods were used in the research which included qualitative and quantitative studies. Two qualitative studies provided the evidence for the importance of training professionals in two essential skills of positioning and attachment (P & A) and hand expression (HE). This study further applied a 15-minute breastfeeding DVD training intervention to train Chinese professionals in P & A and HE. At the meantime, the research developed two valid breastfeeding assessment tools, including knowledge assessment tool and confidence assessment tool. Two quantitative studies of the pilot study and RCT study evaluated the effectiveness of DVD training intervention on improving professionals’ knowledge and confidence before and after DVD training by the two breastfeeding assessment tools. The findings in both studies indicated that the DVD training intervention significantly improve the professionals’ knowledge and confidence in P & A and HE with a big effect size. The semi-structured interviews conducted after the RCT study showed the feasibility and applicability of DVD training for professionals in China. 
    This first evidence-based new training programme is likely to be widely implemented in China due to its effectiveness, convenience and ease of access. However, the long-term effectiveness of the DVD training at improving professionals’ knowledge, confidence and breastfeeding outcome needs to be further examined in the future.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorLouise Wallace (Supervisor), Wendy Clyne (Supervisor), Jo Kosmala-Anderson (Supervisor), Susan Law (Supervisor), Liqian Qiu (Supervisor) & Naomi Andrew (Supervisor)


    • breast feeding
    • China

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