The ABA intervention for improving breastfeeding initiation and continuation: Feasibility study results


Clarke JL, Ingram J, Johnson D, Thomson G, Trickey H, Dombrowski SU, Sitch A, Dykes F, Feltham M, MacArthur C, Roberts T, Hoddinott P & Jolly K (2020) The ABA intervention for improving breastfeeding initiation and continuation: Feasibility study results. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 16 (1), Art. No.: e12907.

The UK has low breastfeeding rates, with socioeconomic disparities. The Assets‐based feeding help Before and After birth (ABA) intervention was designed to be inclusive and improve infant feeding behaviours. ABA is underpinned by the behaviour change wheel and offers an assets‐based approach focusing on positive capabilities of individuals and communities, including use of a Genogram. This study aimed to investigate feasibility of intervention delivery within a randomised controlled trial (RCT). Nulliparous women ≥16 years, (n = 103) from two English sites were recruited and randomised to either intervention or usual care. The intervention – delivered through face‐to‐face, telephone and text message by trained Infant Feeding Helpers (IFHs) – ran from 30‐weeks' gestation until 5‐months postnatal. Outcomes included recruitment rates and follow‐up at 3‐days, 8‐weeks and 6‐months postnatal, with collection of future full trial outcomes via questionnaires. A mixed‐methods process evaluation included qualitative interviews with 30 women, 13 IFHs and 17 maternity providers; IFH contact logs; and fidelity checking of antenatal contact recordings. This study successfully recruited women, including teenagers, from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas; postnatal follow‐up rates were 68.0%, 85.4% and 80.6% at 3‐days, 8‐weeks and 6‐months respectively. Breastfeeding at 8‐weeks was obtained for 95.1% using routine data for non‐responders. It was possible to recruit and train peer supporters to deliver the intervention with adequate fidelity. The ABA intervention was acceptable to women, IFHs and maternity services. There was minimal contamination and no evidence of intervention‐related harm. In conclusion, the intervention is feasible to deliver within an RCT, and a definitive trial required.

assets‐based approach; behaviour change theory; breastfeeding; infant feeding; peer support; randomised controlled trial

Maternal and Child Nutrition: Volume 16, Issue 1

FundersNational Institute for Health Research
Publication date31/01/2020
Publication date online02/12/2019
Date accepted by journal30/09/2019