Buoyed by the trial success of the interactive Breastfeeding Solutions mobile phone app, health promotion officers Nikita Wheaton and Jacinta Lenehan hope to investigate the potential to source funding to adapt the app to Australian context and then provide it, free of charge, to rural women in our part of the world.
‘Breastfeeding Solutions has allowed women in rural Victoria to access timely, evidence-based information in regards to breastfeeding – rather than scrolling through Google or Facebook. Having information on an app on your phone allows women to access the information anywhere and at any time of the day,’ explains Nikita (right).
She and Jacinta have just presented their findings at the Health Research in the Bush conference in Shepparton. Impressively, 93 percent of the women who participated in the trial rated the app favourably. Of them, 90 percent said they’d recommend it to other breastfeeding mothers.
‘The conclusion is that a breastfeeding app is acceptable to breast feeding women in an Australian rural setting. Further evaluation using a user-centred design has the potential to improve rural women’s access to reliable, evidence-based information in the postpartum period,’ Jacinta says.
New mothers often need support to establish breastfeeding, and rural women often find it difficult to access breastfeeding resources locally. There are many smartphone applications for breastfeeding mothers however very few have been developed by health professionals. Breastfeeding Solutions was developed by US lactation consultant Nancy Mohrbacher.
The overall goal of the 12-month research was to determine if Breastfeeding Solutions is an effective and acceptable app to support rural breastfeeding women. Four regional hospitals participated: SWH’s Warrnambool Base and Camperdown hospitals and those of Terang & Mortlake Health Service and Portland District Health. Maternal & Child Health Services across Warrnambool, Moyne, Corangamite and Glenelg were also heavily involved.
Financed by a $10,000 Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust grant, the research was supported by Dr Lisa Amir from La Trobe University’s The Women’s Hospital/Judith Lumley Centre, auspiced by the Heart of Corangamite/HOC* Network’s nutrition working group, and led by Nikita and Jacinta.
*HOC s a collaboration between our Manifold Place SWH health promotion workers, Corangamite Shire Council, South West Primary Care Partnership, Terang & Mortlake Health Service, Timboon District Health Service, Beaufort & Skipton Health Services and Cobden District Health Services.