Randomised controlled trial assessing the effectiveness of a booklet on the duration of breast feeding
- Professor Pierpaolo Mastroiacovo, Institute of Paediatrics, Catholic University, L go A Gemelli 8, 00168 Rome, Italy.
- Accepted 14 February 1997
OBJECTIVE To test the efficacy of an information booklet to increase the duration of breast feeding.
RESEARCH DESIGN Randomised design, stratifying by maternal residence and working activity. Two hundred women were recruited, 103 received the booklet and verbal counselling and 97 verbal counselling only.
POPULATION Infants observed from 15 September 1993 to 15 June 1994 in the well baby outpatient clinic of the Paediatric Institute of the Catholic University of Rome, Italy.
MAIN RESULTS No statistically significant difference was found between the two groups in the prevalence of exclusive or complementary breast feeding at 6 months of age: 48.5% and 59.2% in the intervention group, 43.7% and 51.5% in the control group. The median duration of exclusive or complementary breast feeding was 24 and 27 weeks in the treated group, 22 and 25 in the control group.
CONCLUSIONS The information booklet alone does not seem to increase the duration and the prevalence of breast feeding at 6 months of age. The use of written material with a more individualised support and more extensive use of randomised clinical trials in the evaluation of health promoting programmes is recommended.