Evaluation of a Designated Family BondingTime to Decrease Interruptions andIncrease Exclusive Breastfeeding

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Objective: The purpose of this quality improvement project was to plan and implement a daily family bonding time on our mother/baby care unit and evaluate its effect on interruptions, mothers’ perceptions of interruptions, and exclusive breastfeeding rates.

Design: A separate sample pre-/postintervention design conducted in three phases.

Setting/Local Problem: Healthy breastfeeding newborns had double the odds of receiving supplementation before discharge if they stayed more than 1 night or were born at night. Night nurses suggested implementing a daily quiet time as a strategy for limiting interruptions.

Participants: A convenience sample of 60 postpartum women.

Intervention/Measures: During Phases 1 and 3, data were collected on interruptions (number, duration, and by whom), women’s perceptions of interruptions, and exclusive breastfeeding rates. Family bonding time was launched in Phase 2 during the hours of 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Women were encouraged to rest with their newborns in their rooms; interruptions were limited to those that were urgent, medically necessary, or requested by the women.

Results: Outcome data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, a repeated-measures analysis of variance, t test, and chi-square test. Analysis of interruptions by the unit nursing staff indicated a decrease in interruptions between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. that could be attributed to family bonding time (F(1, 58) = 7.50, p = .008). Analysis of interruptions by other hospital staff and visitors indicated a significant interaction of time with interruptions; interruptions decreased in both phases between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. (F(3, 174) = 4.83, p = .0029; F(3, 174) = 2.95, p = .034). Exclusive breastfeeding rates increased significantly (χ2(4) = 21.27, p = .0003); there were no significant differences in women’s perceptions of interruptions.

Conclusion: New mothers experience many interruptions during their hospital stays, particularly when visitors arrive in large groups and stay more than 60 minutes. Documenting sources of interruptions before launching family bonding time helps identify hospital staff who need to be informed. Addressing their concerns before implementation can facilitate project sustainability.